At the Somerset Show this past weekend, I gave a presentation on “Nymphing,” and was asked several times about the pattern for the Snail Fly. It’s so easy that it’s almost embarrassingly so.
Here’s the pattern for the Snail Fly:
Hook: Sizes 10-14, standard shank length hook (I like a heavier wire nymph hook because I often encounter big fish and light wire hooks get straightened too often).
Hackle: Fore and Aft style, dry-fly quality brown hackle, 3 to 4 turns each at rear and front of body.
Body: 4 to 6 strands of heacock herl twisted together for strength and to build bulk; fat cigar shape. Body may also be built of peacock-0colored crystal chenille for a more sparkling appearance (the Sparkle Snail is great in deeper and discolored waters).
Rib: Bright copper wire counter-wound on body to re-enforce it and give a glint of copper color
Weight: Optional; lead wire under body or copper or tungsten bead head. I don’t weight the fly, allowing the weight of the copper wire to sink the fly slowly.
Fish the fly any and every way possible in lakes and ponded areas of streams. I may fish it with a Strip/Tease retrieve or simply cast and allow it to sink. I’ll fish it under a styrofoam indicator in the waves (Wave Bobbing) or heave and retrieve fast with long strips interspersed with short strips. I may fish it on a full floating line and long leader or use a sinking line or sink tip. In other words, get in in the water and try a bunch of different retrieves. This thing works!