I may be sticking my proverbial neck out a little further than necessary and inviting some debate by saying that the Mayfly Spent Spinner, may just rate as one of the finest small stream dry flies …. It has certainly done it for me and has been a long time favorite. Not only does it perform well when the dead and dying naturals drift downstream as easy prey for the trout, but even as a searching pattern when the fish are being finicky as they so often are. The answer to that is simple; this is a small insect that the trout are used to seeing fairly frequently, it’s familiar, it has a recognizable profile with wings flat on the surface, long fine tails, slim abdomen and plump thorax – these are insects that it has eaten before, probably hundreds, maybe thousands and liked them.
I used to tie them with the traditional hour-glass wing, but changed a few years ago to the Ellis Triple Wing style and my experience has shown that the more natural looking wing shape has made a difference. I now also have a preference for organza thread as the material for the wings – it has a sheen that resembles the translucence in the insect and it holds its shape far better than other materials I have used in the past. I use a fine wire hook and tie from #14 down to #18 although #16 is my go to size generally.
Give them a try …. I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed …. I’d like to hear from you.
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