Spinners are the deadliest of dry flies for catching trout. Why? To start, trout love them. Spinners are vulnerable, stuck in the surface, and trout eat them with more voraciousness and confidence than they do any other insect. Spinners are the also the only mayfly stage to fall from above to the water’s surface. So, from the start, your presentation of a spinner pattern is the most a realistic one there is. Natural duns and emergers all come from below, rise to the surface and fly away. So, when you cast a dun or emerger the presentation is unnatural. You’re immediately at a disadvantage relative to fishing a spinner.
Snowshoe Spinner's Tying Recipe
Hook: Orvis 2x Dry Fly for sizes 8-16, Orvis Big Eye for size 18-24.
Body: Orange Orvis Spectrablend Dry Fly dubbing in tan, dark mahogany, black, or olive.
Wing: Fur from snowshoe rabbit's feet, tied divided and spent.
Why is the Snowshoe Spinner the deadliest of all the spinner patterns I’ve ever fished? It’s the snowshoe hare wings. They’re far superior to hackle, CDC, poly and any other material— and the wings are everything when it comes to this pattern. I’ve tied and fished all of them over the years. But when I first tied the pattern with snowshoe hare fur years ago, I knew it was the best material period.
Because the fur is naturally buoyant and water repellent the wings keep their shape better than any other material. One quick false or roll cast and the wings dry and keep their full, spread-out shape. This is critical to a successful presentation. Other materials absorb water and their wings slim down, lose their shape, or sweep back against the body and the natural profile is lost. Fewer fish are caught. Snowshoe hare’s water repellent and buoyancy also means it stays afloat longer. It’s more durable than other materials and its coloration and translucent quality most closely matches the natural spinner’s “glassy” wings. All of these benefits help you catch more fish.
Perhaps the best thing about the magic of snowshoe hare fur is that the color and high buoyancy means YOU CAN SEE the spinner on the water. All other patterns are more difficult to see than the Snowshoe Spinner. You can track it far more easily. Which means you can control your drift far better to keep it as drag free as possible. And a drag free drift with a spinner is the very key to success. When you can see the spinner, you also make far fewer false hook sets. So you disrupt the water less and spook fewer fish than you would with another spinner, and increase your chances at strikes. This benefit alone has helped me land more trout. One time, while fishing to a brown along a foam line, where it’s particularly difficult to track a regular spinner, my ability to track the Snowshoe Spinner resulted in a nice brown. Fish were rising regularly, near and around my fly. I could see one big brown among them. Had I not been able to see my fly, I know I would have made a false strike or two, and put that brown down. Instead, after several drifts, I finally saw the brown take my fly and hooked and landed him.
Pick up a dozen or so Snowshoe Spinners next time you’re going to fish a spinner fall and catch more fish with this deadliest of the deadliest patterns.
-By Tom Rosenbauer. For more information, please e-mail Tom.