A good imitation for mayfly spinners particularly in size 12 and larger is the Variant. By changing body and hackle color a large number of spinner falls can be matched. High quality hackle should be used and tied slightly over sized. This hackle should be tied in slightly forward of the middle of the hook. Wrap the dubbing to the eye of the hook forming both an abdomen and a thorax. When the fish are taking upright adults early in the fall the fly is fished as tied. Later, when the flies are spent, trim the top and bottom of the hackle to create a flush floating pattern. Another effective way to fish this fly is to trim only the bottom of the hackle. This variation proved very effective during a fall of Grey Drake spinners on the Yellowstone River in early August 1992. The cutthroats that day were keying on the struggling flies in the surface film but not the placid ones. Perhaps, this modification creates that effect. Whatever the reason, this was the only way they would accept the fly.
Hook : Dry fly, #12 and larger – using 2xl hooks is a good option
Tail : Hackle fibers or fibetts to match natural
Abdomen : Natural or synthetic dubbing – color to match natural; tied slim,
but it’s effective to pick out fibers to create the translucent effect of the natural.
Thorax : Same as abdomen
Wing : Two high quality hackles. Use color that best match the natural.Mixing hackles such as light dun and grizzly is effective.
Fly tied by Alan Bowers