Autumn's kicking it up a gear and lately we have experienced some cracking spinner falls here in the South, but many struggle to identify the difference between a rise to a spinner, and a rise to a dun, which is essential for success. Quickest advice is to wade out and see what’s drifting in the film and take note of the hurriedness, and type of rise. Is it a full nose rise, more leisurely, or a classic head / tail rise?
Now that we know what they're feeding on lets drop some knowledge to better understand this phase, and help you approach the spinner fall like a pro.
The mayfly lifecycle - in under 100 words...
Eggs hatch out into aquatic nymphs. When the nymph matures it rises to the surface where it sheds its exoskeleton and the dun climbs out (the all-important emerger phase), crawls through the film and flies away to stream side vegetation. Within 24 hours the dun again sheds its skin, transforms into the adult spinner, mates, lays its eggs and dies spent on the water. Trout love this phase as they can position themselves accordingly and feast at leisure on a banquet that can’t escape.
Chris' tips for fishing the spinner fall…
1: Keep ‘em in the film. When spinners fall upon the water after laying their eggs they are dead. Dead things don't stand, so your spent spinner imitation must lay flat within the surface film... the trout are judging!
2: Flush floating film patterns are often hard to see, especially when surrounded by numerous naturals. A small indicator, smear of Biostrike putty or a high viz parachute sighter a foot or two back from your fly will have you looking in the right ballpark. Set on anything which surfaces within a foot of your sighter.
3: When fishing spinner falls presentation is everything, particularly when fish are feeding in the pools or glassy glides. The Reach mend becomes my staple nearly every single cast to keep both tippet and line away from the fish. Even better - Start at the top of the pool and fish downstream to visible rises, using reach, pile or parachute casts to attain a drag free, 'fly first' drift... these fish are looking for tiny insects 2 inches in front of their nose - they won't see you.
4: Use a Longer, level tippet to generate optimum slack down at the fly, and to keep leader knots away from the fish where they can show up surface disturbance in the glassy glides and flats. Loons Snake River Mud is invaluable here to both dull down, and hide your tippet.
5: Carry multiple spinner patterns to cater for glassy, riffly or glary water conditions, but keep them small, size 16's and 18's dominate through April.
Check out tomorrow's Friday Fly Day for a few of our killer Spinner patterns.