Snail Fly

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!

The Snail Fly--just fish it!


  1. Tom Roney says:

    Snail Fly looks great….shades of my old friend George Griffith’s fly, the Griffith’s Gnat, which, together with your Devil Bug are two of the greatest fly’s ever tied.There are actually hundreds of Browns in the Michigan AuSable and the Montana Big Horn that I have released that tested these two winners. …Regards…Tom Roney