Last February, I had some surprisingly good top of the water grayling sport when the hatches of large dark olives (baetis rhodani), began to gather a little momentum. The fly I used successfully at that time - and on into spring and early summer - was a variant of Bob Wyatt's snowshoe hare emerger.
I've been tying a few up this afternoon, with an eye on the coming spring when hopefully it will work it's magic for me once again. It is really simple to tie and can be stunningly effective; the wing (of fur from the foot of a showshoe hare), affords the pattern excellent buoyancy, is easily false casted dry, and sits 'just right' in the surface film. I caught some nice fish and had very few refusals to this fly. It's well worth the minimal effort required in tying a few up....
Incidentally snowshoe hare's feet - which do seem a little difficult to find - can be purchased from Pat Steven's excellent Flytek site (see link opposite). They are available in natural colour and dyed dun and olive.
LDO Snowshoe Hare Emerger.
Hook: Varivas 2200, #14 or 16.
Thread: 14/0 in olive or brown.
Rib: Olive Pearsalls silk.
Abdomen: Masterclass dubbing #28.
Wing: Fur from underside of dyed dun snowshoe hare foot.
Run on the thread and catch in the rib. I like to use Pearsalls silk as it adds little weight to the dressing as well as being of subtle hue and very strong.
Now bind down the rib to the point where the body is to end, and run the thread back up to the beginning of the 'flat spot' on the shank of the hook.
Cut out an appropriately sized piece of fur from the underside of the foot (it takes a bit of practice to work out how much fur to use: too little and the fly won't float, too much and the abdomen profile will be too bulky). Tie in with a few solid turns of thread, in much the same way as you would with deer hair.
Trim off the waste butts of the fur to a taper and then use the thread to build a slim but nicely tapered body. Park the thread at the tail end, ready for the dubbing.
Now wrap on your dubbing to a point just short of the rear of the wing. I like Masterclass dubbing as it is quite fine and doesn't add much weight to the fly when wet.
Wind the rib up, tie down and snip off.
More dubbing now: cover up to the rear of the wing and then carry the dubbing through to the front. With forefinger and thumb, gently pull the wing backwards and dub a butt of material tight in front of the wing so that it is forced into more of an upright position.
Nearly there! Complete a tapered thorax with some more dubbing, whip finish and apply a couple of drops of head cement.
To the river! There are fish waiting to be caught!