Craig’s Nighttime – a streamer fly for large trout at dusk and dawn

Craig’s Nighttime is an old classic New Zealand streamer fly. I initially found the pattern in John Veniard’s book: Reservoir and Lake Flies – a book I highly recommend. You can find a link to the book at the bottom of this blog.

Years ago on a dark night this large darkish blue fly got me into a bunch of large brown trout in a secret river somewhere in Norway. The best of these was a beautiful golden 5 pounder. Needless to say, Craig’s Nighttime has been a favourite ever since.

Originally the blue feathers on the back of the fly were from taken from the Pukeko bird. A colourful New Zealand bird, that looks a lot like a coot or a moorhen. Pukeko is the New Zealand name for the purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio). There are many subspecies of the purple swamphen. The subspecies found in New Zealand (Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus) is thought to have landed here around a thousand years ago from Australia.

These feathers can be difficult to get hold on up here in the cold north so I make my own substitute by dying feathers from different herons, pheasants and peacock to get the colour I need.

The flat wing tying style adds a large profile – making this streamer excellent for night fishing and for fishing on dark days. It is kind of an oversized Black Zulu wearing Batman’s cape.

The Craig’s Nighttime is still one of my go-to flies for large browns, whether they live in the lake, the river or return from the sea. Give it a try. The pattern is here:

Craig’s Nighttime

Hook: Salmon hook, low water- or ordinary wet fly hook

Tail: Red wool

Body: Black chenille

Rib: Oval silver tinsel

Wing: Three blue pukeko feathers tied on to lie flat over body, plus a single jungle cock feather also tied on flat over the pukeko feathers. (Small heron feathers dyed blue could be used as a substitute for the pukeko.)

Throat hackle: Black cock

Head: Black varnish

Find John Veniard’s Reservoir and Lake Flies on this link:



    Joe Duca

    (January 17, 2020 - 3:20 pm)

    Michael ! What’s going on? I miss you and Ulla on Youtube! You must be deep undercover with your SPY project ;o) I hope all is well and I wish you great success in 2020! Happy New Year! By the way this Craig’s Nighttime was a great piece – Batman’s cape – ha ha, you’re awesome buddy! Take care and forgive me for not reaching out sooner…

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