most, if not all of the spinner imitations i see have a white wing of hackle tips, poly yarn, organza, hair, and probaly a bunch more different materials that i have missed.
since we are trying to imitate the clear wings of an insect, why do we use white, wouldnt a light blue dun coloration of the wings be more appropriate.
I use white Congo Hair - makes it easier for me to spot the fly, since most of the spinner falls I fish are late evening/low light conditions. Fish don't seem to mind.
In one of his books John Gierach says that that is exactly what AK Best does.
Another point on spinner wings; where they are tied is, or can be, important. I usually carry 3 variations. One with the wings tied conventionally across the top of the body. One with the wings at the side of the body. And one with the wings at 90 degrees, ie. one upright one spent. Which I fish is dependant on how far up stream the spinner fall is happening. The first I fish if the fall is Further away, a little closer the the second. The third closer still. I have rarely encountered fish rising directly under a spinner fall on the rivers I fish. The further from the fall I am the more awash the spinners become as they drift down. On rare occasions I have had to fish the spinner totally submerged. I've toyed with a soft hackle spinner for these times, but they have been so infrequently that I have encountered this, I haven't bothered... Yet.
White because it is the closest thing to translucent wings of the natural spinner. I use the little round feathers that are found on the inside shoulder of a Mallard wing (white to light gray). They float naturally and turn nearly translucent when wet or ginked up
I've used white, cream, and light dun and most of the time I don't think it matters. However, as you noted, spinner wings are generally clear, so I do think it's important to have a sparse wing so that the wing isn't too opaque. I personally like wound hackle, clipped on the bottom for most mayfly spinners as you can get a wide, but sparse wing profile.
I'd say 90% of the time I use grizzly hackle, clipped top and bottom. I learned from Al Caucci and the only times he altered this was for the Delaware River sulphurs and the large potamantis'. For those spinners he used cream hackle. I figured if it was good enough for him I wasn't going to change it.
Originally Posted by john52948
Regarding the color of the wings. Spinner wings are translucent so the color of the sky, clouds, foliage which is see through the wing is just as important, I would think, as the slight shading of the translucent wing itself.
Whenever an object is ON the surface of the water OUTSIDE the trout's window, it depresses and tilts the water surface, breaking the mirror effect so the fish can detect the SIZE & SHAPE of the impression, which is the spinner body and wing. This is what catches the attention of the trout first before it can see the spinner in the window. My view is that just as in duns, it is SIZE and SHAPE that trumps a bit of color difference especially when the wings are translucent. I believe that is why all manner of spinner wings work as long as they meet the size/shape criteria.
Another property of spinner wings is that they are reflective. They have a sheen and that is why twinkle organza fibers work so well as spinner wings fro insects with clear spinner wings. I believe that this reflective quality is a trigger and when you can use a material that actually enhances this property, it stands out amongst the naturals and acts as a "super trigger."
Notice the sheen and specular reflections of the translucent shucks left behind by emerging mayflies in the image below.
thanks for the replys guys. i think i will try dun snowshoe for wings with a yellow or orange indicator and see what happens