Al Campbell, Field Editor

March 22nd, 2004

Too Simple Bunny Emerger

Al Campbell

When you look at it, this pattern isn't a lot different from the extended body mayfly of a couple of weeks ago. However, it has a couple of characteristics that cause it to look and fish a lot different from the other fly. Not only is it a little easier to tie, but when it's floating on the water, it presents a different image to the fish looking at it from underneath.

This fly has a shorter body than the other one, and it could be used to represent more than a mayfly if tied in the right sizes and colors. Of course, as the photo suggests, it can also represent a mayfly. It is just a little bit more flexible that way.

By the way, this fly isn't totally my invention. A few of years ago while visiting the Bighorn Trout Shop in Fort Smith Montana, they were selling a fly called a "bunny baetis" that used a wing made from dark dun snowshoe hare foot hairs. Their version was more complex than mine, but it was enough to cause me to buy a snowshoe hare foot and create a simple version of the baetis for myself. The fly performed well, and it was a better floater than the CDC winged versions I had been using for many years. A plus was the fact that I could treat the fly with floatant with no ill effects. I just tie the fly a different way than they did, but I owe the inspiration to the Bighorn Trout Shop.

I'm back to using one of my favorite simple body materials too. I find the punch embroidery yarn I use in this body too easy to ignore. It takes floatant easily, won't absorb water as easily as cotton will, and looks buggy when used as a fly body. Add to all of that the fact that you can buy it in a full array of colors and a spool will last about a thousand flies, and you have what might be a perfect simple body material.

I fish this fly just about any time I see emerging insects. That includes mayflies and caddisflies. Sometimes I twitch it to give it the appearance of life, and sometimes I just drift it. The snowshoe hare wing keeps the fly floating very well, but if it should sink for some reason I usually let it swing before I lift it out of the water for another cast. It usually only takes a single false-cast to dry the body and wing sufficiently to float again.

As before, select the size, body color and wing color to match the insect you want to imitate. Tan, cream and dun are the most common colors in the insect world, so I use those colors in my bodies and wings. Since natural snowshoe hare feet have hairs that range from cream to tan, that covers those colors. Dun dyed feet are also available from select suppliers. Hunters Angling Supplies, has natural and three shades of dun dyed feet for sale. Some of the local shops also carry snowshoe hare feet, so check out your local supplier before you start a broad search. I think you'll find snowshoe hare feet to be just about as useful as CDC, maybe even more useful.

Materials TS Bunny Emerger

  • Hook - Any standard fly hook, even cheap ones will do. I'm using a size 16 Eagle Claw dry fly hook.

  • Tail - none.

  • Body - Punch embroidery yarn. I'm using golden tan for this fly (PMD colors) but you can use any color needed to match the hatch.

  • Legs - None.

  • Thread - 6/0 - Colored to match the body.

  • Wing - Stiff hairs from the foot of a snowshoe hare. I'm using light dun, but you can use any color to match the hatch. If you can't find the right color, the feet can be dyed, or colored with a waterproof marker.

Tying steps TS Bunny Emerger:

    1. Start the thread.

    2. Secure the punch embroidery yarn to the hook.

    3. Leaving the thread to the rear, wrap a yarn body to just behind the hook eye, as shown.

    4. Bring the thread forward and over the hook in front of the yarn.

    5. Now wrap the thread behind the yarn to tie it off.

    6. Trim the tag end of yarn.

    7. Select a small bunch of snowshoe hare foot fibers and secure them to the hook so that the hairs extend slightly past the bend of the hook.

    8. If you want to, make a wrap or two of thread around the base of the wing to help it stand more upright, but you still want the wing to slant backward a little. When you have the wing secure, trim the hair ends that extend over the hook eye.

    9. Build a nice head and whip finish. I usually add a drop of head cement to secure the head and wing. Your finished fly should look something like this.

Is that simple enough? Do you think you could use this pattern to imitate other insects? One thing is certain; you can use this simple pattern to fill a fly box in a hurry. I also think you'll like the way it catches fish when you try it on the water. Warmwater folks, try this pattern for bluegills sometime. I think you'll like the results. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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