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

Craig's Nighttime on parade
Craig's Nighttime - an old classic New Zealand Streamer
Craig’s Nighttime – an old classic New Zealand Streamer

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.

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.

Craig's Nighttime - Flies and a feather

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.

Craig's Nighttime - an old classic New Zealand Streamer

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.

Dying feathers in the special pukeko blue
Dyed and dried feathers - pukeko substitute

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.

Watch a tying SBS right here…

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Craig’s Nighttime
Michael Jensen Fishing a secret river

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    (January 22, 2021 - 12:05 pm)

    Where can I find the feathers you use for the body?

    By the way I really enjoy and often reread your eBook The Booby Fly

      Michael Jensen

      (January 23, 2021 - 11:24 am)

      Hi James. Thanks for your feedback on my book. I use several different feathers for this. Mostly i use heron body feathers. I collect feathers under a local colony of these birds. Most kinds of body feathers from pheasants will do as well, if coloured to a dark blue tone. Around here the common coot has useable feathers as well. For dying I use Veniards dyes.
      And for a more shiny variation, you can use neck feathers form a peacock. I’ve seen a video where Davie McPhail use that.
      A lot of different feathers will work, as long as they have that dark blue color and dont marry the fibers. Thats why most spey like hackles work great.
      Hope that was helpfull. Cheers, Michael :0)

    Joseph Duca

    (January 22, 2021 - 4:25 pm)

    That’s where I’ve seen it! Wow Oct 9 2019, how could I forget! Thanks Michael :o)

      Michael Jensen

      (January 23, 2021 - 11:25 am)

      And thank you, Joe :0)

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