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Probably one of the most underutilised materials out there…. or maybe I just don’t see many posts on social media related to Snowshoe….

A fantastic material for dry flies… from wings to underwings and just about anything and anywhere on a fly you could tie some in…. I have even used some as hackle on a Klinkhammer….

I initially came up with this variant of a snowshoe Caddis (every fly today is just a variant of something already established) for single dry Euro setup… however after a late mission to Sterkfontein Dam in January of 2023… those who were out there around this time will confirm that the fishing was tough….

I slapped on the JF SnowShoe Caddis after the usual beetles, hoppers, parachute mats and balbyters proved fruitless. First fish…. second fish and a few more before I changed over to a single CDC wing Royal Coachman pattern I tie… few more fish and I came to realise that the low riding profile of these two flies was the catalyst for the success…. I then switched over to a Dry and hung an Emerger of the bend of the dry fly’s hook and boom…… 

Materials:

Hook: Dohiku HDD #14 (tie in 16 too)

Thread: Semperfli Nano silk (have some wax close by)

Abdomen: Squirrel dub or pelt/skin

Underwing: 3 CDC feathers (preferably Nat. Mallard)

Overwing: Snowshoe…. Of course….

Sighter: calf tail in orange or yellow (this step is optional) my eyes suck….*****

Photos of some of the materials are shown below:

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Squirrel dubbing.

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CDC

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Snowshoe

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Calf tail

 

And now - how to tie the fly.

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Step 1:

Attach thread and lay down a thread base to just before the hook bend.

Split thread and offer a clump of spikey squirrel dubbing to the split thread, spin to create a nice dubbing brush if you will….

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Step 2: 

Palmer the dubbing onto the hook shank making sure to stop about halfway.

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Step 3: 

Prepare and stack 3 CDC feathers allowing for the natural curve of the feather.

Tie in your CDC underwing. This can extend to about 4-6 hook eye lengths beyond the hook bend, keep short if you can.

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Step 4:

Grab and clump your spikey squirrel dubbing, the more guard hairs the better. Split thread, offer the dubbing to the split thread, spin and palmer, less is more….. do not overdo it with this step as we need sufficient shank real estate for the next step/s.

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Step 5:

Snip of a clump of snowshoe closer to the pad/toes of the foot…. How much… I don’t know… about as thick as the CDC underwing…

Be sure to remove the fluff and gunk with a dubbing brush. Apply some wax on your thread as you are going to need it for some grip on the snowshoe. Building up excessive bulk with snowshoe is so easy and caution should be taken.

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Step 6:

Snip free a small clump of calf tail, prep and add to a hair stacker if you must.

Tie in and grab another clump of squirrel dubbing for the collar/finish.

Split thread once again, palmer and tie off.

Create a notable size head in black or brown thread or use a sharpie. Whip finish and coat in resin or varnish.

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We’re all done…

Tight lines.

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