Lusk’s Koura V

Rethinking the Koura Pattern

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In all the time I had been thinking about the perfect koura pattern I had two nagging doubts that kept troubling me.

The first was the very simple proposition that many, many other fly tiers had tied some very good koura patterns, and there were probably patterns that were over 100 years old.

The second recurring doubt was about tying a fly that was significantly more elaborate than was necessary.

My fly box is relatively spartan, with only a few patterns and nothing particularly elaborate. Years of only fishing only to sighted fish has taught me that a well presented fly will take just about any fish, and elaborate patterns do not increase the take rate provided the fly is presented accurately first cast.

These thoughts led me to wonder if a simple leech pattern in brown would not be as effective as any more elaborate pattern. I have caught a huge number of fish on an olive mohair leech, which represents a range of high value trout food insects. So on the way home from the lake I called in to the yarn supply shop, which makes craft yarns and knitting wool.

Unfortunately the yarn shop did not have a good brown colour to match the marabou I had, or the colour I had in mind. I had to get some dark brown marabou, and also checked another mohair yarn shop and got a slightly lighter brown leech yarn. 

Other New Zealand Koura Patterns

A mate of mine who is a prolific tier and very knowledgeable about all sorts of fly patterns helped me out with my first thought. He immediately knew a number of patterns that were considered to represent crayfish, and was kind enough to tie them up for me and send me photos.
Steve Flint’s Black Woolly Bugger with Lumo Skirt for Night fishing

Steve Flint’s Red Setter
Steve Flint’s Black Fuzzy Wuzzy

Steve’s comments were that any of these patterns can have component parts substituted for different colours. They are all relatively simple patterns that do not specifically imitate anything other than food, but have been very, very popular fish catching flies in New Zealand for generations.

A Realistic Pattern

Another of my mates who fishes the edge of Lake Taupo, where there are plenty of Koura, tied a different pattern to Steve. James Mabin’s Koura is tied to represent an undisturbed Koura. He caught fish with this, but seemed to catch more with other flies that were not realistic Koura Patterns.
James Mabin’s Koura


I. Lusk’s Koura | II. Further Design Work | III. Trout & Flies for Similar Conditions | IV. Design Features for the Next Prototype | V. Rethinking the Koura Pattern | VI. Prototype 3, 4 & 5 | VII. A Fish Catching Fly | VIII. Further Design Work II | IX. Lusk’s Koura Tying Instructions | X. Fishing Lusk’s KouraXI. The Best Pattern | XII. A Revised Pattern | XIII. A Jig Hook Koura 

This series of articles is available as an ebook on Amazon.