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DreedeeJuly 29th, 2008, 3:08 pm
Posts: 16I haven't had much luck keeping snowshoe hare-winged dries afloat, which is too bad, as the trout were crazy about them on a sulfur pattern I tied. Are there some rabbits with more buoyant fur than others? If so, I'd like to find where I can get them. I tie lots of comparaduns, which are wonderful. And I DO use CDC for the #26-#28 bwos of summer, though I hate how I have to keep changing flies. Snowshoe that floated well would be the ticket. Any suggestions?
InconnuSeptember 4th, 2008, 1:43 pm
Beaumont, Alberta

Posts: 3
This may help a bit.
existo bonus ut invicem
SayfuOctober 22nd, 2011, 9:11 am
Posts: 560
As I remember, the best floating hair from a snowshoe's foot is near the heal of the foot?? The hair is tough, and I would put floatant on it as well. I had a bad experience tying up a bunch of snowshoe hairwing flies for PMDs. The Winter before, while Hungarian Partridge hunting, I shot this huge snowshoe. The thing hung from my belt to the ground! After tying up a bunch of flies, I find out that it was no snowshoe, it was a particular species of Jack Rabbit that turns snow white in the winter. I've hunted snowshoes in Michigan, and should have known snowshoes were not that large. And the flies floated poorly.
PaulRobertsOctober 24th, 2011, 5:05 pm

Posts: 1776
I use rabbit foot hairs a lot, and they are generally best on calmer surfaces as they do get damp. Their advantage is that they squeeze dry easily.

Lately I've been using mountain cottontail (Sylvilagus nuttalli)--got one yesterday in fact--which have denser foot fibers than other cottontails, and it's finer than snowshoe hair. By not pulling out the underfur, and using some fibers for a bulky thorax, I can get a bit more buoyant fly that can handle a bit more turbulence. I often add a fluorescent wing for visibility on turbulent water too. There's a picture of one in one of my posts in the Fishing Reports Section... it's called... "In the Willow Jungle" from Aug 2010.

Here it is:
JOHNWOctober 24th, 2011, 9:41 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
I find a quick hit of any silicone based floatant instills the almost legendary "cork" like floatability. When you combine this with the easy to squeeze dry nature of tha material you point out I just love it.

For glare conditions I tie a little bit of black (very dark dun) dyed snowshoe in. Similar to what you do with the flouro for turbulent water.
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
PaulRobertsOctober 25th, 2011, 11:10 am

Posts: 1776
Thanks, John. Good points.

I use floatant but find it only lasts so long. Material structure and handling when tying are most important. For really turbulent water, densely wound hackle it still tops.
SayfuOctober 25th, 2011, 2:55 pm
Posts: 560Paul...Densily wound hackle severely detracts from the body shape/profile of the bug, and not what I want the fish to see in heavily fished waters. If anything, I thorax style tie a body color hackle with just a few wraps right behind the rabbit wing, and in front, and trim under for better flotation if needed. Like to refrain from that though. I would rather tightly wrap my dubbing, wash of the fly after a fish landed, and false cast the heck out of it, blow on it, squeeze it, and add a little more floatant maybe. I often feel the water needs rested anyway.
JOHNWOctober 25th, 2011, 6:15 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
I recently (last two seasons) started playing with Harrops Hairwing Drake and really like the pattern so far especially on rough and toumble type waters. Of course the first modification I made was to try subbing Snow shoe for the hair and I think combo of hackle and hair is pretty interesting in suggesting life.

As for the floatant every dry gets hit with watershed at the vice (every non CDC that is) a greases type floatant right after being tied on and then refreshed with Frogs Fanny [or Martinlf's fanny ripoff ;)] as needed.
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
OldredbarnOctober 25th, 2011, 11:23 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
I would rather tightly wrap my dubbing, wash of the fly after a fish landed, and false cast the heck out of it, blow on it, squeeze it, and add a little more floatant maybe. I often feel the water needs rested anyway.


I like this! If you don't mind I'd like to borrow it the next time I'm trying to disentangle (is that a word?) my fly and most of my leader from one of those nasty Tag Alders along my favorite stream. I'll just tell any passers-bye, "No. Not really having a problem here. Nothing to see here. You should just keep on moving downstream there. Just resting the water a bit...Hey. You wouldn't happen to have a little of that secret sauce floatant of Martinlf's, would you?"

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
SayfuOctober 26th, 2011, 9:01 am
Posts: 560
Wish I would re-read my posts, and get the grammar, spelling right once in awhile. The resting the water thing is a problem I have, and why I posted it. I always have plans of remaining cool, but end up impulsive, and unwilling to take my time, and relax. The tight dubbing thing does have a major impact on a flies flotation. I add floatant to my dubbing when I dub getting into the body of the fly, then add a little when I fish the fly. The resting the water thing is obvious when I would guide two anglers. When one would fish to rising fish, and the other observe, and then the other angler fish over the rising fish more fish could be caught than both anglers casting over the same water. Fish will begin rising again if the water is rested. Harder said than done, however.
FisherOfMenJanuary 7th, 2012, 7:53 pm

Posts: 115
At my first fly-tying lesson yesterday my instructor (Rick Kovac, Packbasket Adventures) gave me a snowshoe hare foot and said that the best, most buoyant hair is on the bottom of the foot, right in the middle lengthwise but 2/3 up to the toes. Hope that helps, but like I said, it was my first lesson.
"Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught." -Author Unknown

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -Edmund Burke

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