Located in the southwest corner of Missouri, Crane Creek is one of the states best fly-fishing streams. This is a true spring fed stream is small in size but the fish are not. The fish are wild Rainbow Trout, not just any trout; these are McCloud River Rainbow trout first introduced in the 1880’s. This is one of the few remaining streams in the country with this strain of Rainbow's.

This is some of the best fly fishing in Missouri. The river is very clear making your presentation skills extremely important, you need to have a stealth approach so you don't spook the fish. The river does not get too much pressure mainly because it is very difficult to fish. There are lots of trees for shade to keep you cool on the hot days of summer, but you need to be careful not to hook one.

This is a more challenging creek to fish then some because of the water clarity and need for perfect presentation. This is not the best stream for beginner fly fishers. The water is clear and the fish are a bit skittish, but being able to see the fish actually helps the more experienced anglers.

Some of the best fishing is between Crane Creek Park and a couple of springs near the conservation area. You will also find good fishing in the town of Crane, but because of the ease of access it gets fished more so it produces less.

Photo courtesy of
Some of the flies to use would include Caddis, Mayflies and Stoneflies. You will need to use small sizes and long leaders to aid in your presentation. Casting can be a challenge in some of the narrower areas that are filled with trees. Keep this in mind, if it is easy to cast then the fish in this area may be few, and they will be very picky. Hair’s Ear nymphs work well most times and black ants along the banks will bring a fish or two as well.

Fishing is open year round, the two most popular seasons to fish are the spring and the fall. The spring is good because of the hatches that start coming on, and the fall is good because of the temperatures being more favorable. Winter fishing can be good and summer also, but if you fish the summer months you should hit it early or late not during the middle of the afternoon.

Crane Creek map.

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STREAM FISHING TIP. Water levels are very important. If there is any sudden increase or decrease in the water levels the fishing can change dramatically. Be sure to look at the most recent stream flows for any of the rivers you want to fish to see the recent levels. Click stream flow link below and choose some water.