Although often overlooked, an Isonychia Spinner pattern is a great one to have with you during summer evenings and into the fall. Here, author, fly tier and blogger Matt Grobert is going to tie his version of an Isonychia Spinner.
Matt's going to use a Dai-Riki #305 dry fly hook in size 12 but it's a good idea to carry 10's as well. For thread, he's going to use 3/0 brown Danville.
Get your thread started at about the midway point on your hook shank and take wraps rearward before snipping off the tag. You want to end with your thread just in front of the hook point.
Snip a small clump of moose body hair free from the hide and strip out the fuzzies and shorts. Snip the butt ends off square to facilitate stacking. Once stacked, remove the hair, being careful to keep the tips aligned. Measure it to a length of 2 1/2 hook lengths and snip it off square. Secure the bundle to the hook shank with several nice, tight wraps and then begin taking wraps rearward. When you get to about the barb, begin passing your thread around just the bundle and not the hook. Keep taking open spiral wraps until you reach a point about a hook length back from the butts. There, take 2 or 3 turns of thread then make your way back down the bundle to the hook shank. Again, you're passing the thread only around the bundle. Continue taking wraps forward until your tying thread is immediately in front of the butts. It should look something like this, with a body a hook length long and a tail that's 1 1/2 hook lengths.
Iso spinners only have 2 tails so separate out just a few fibers from either side of the bundle and then snip the center fibers off close. Trim down until you have 2 fibers on each side. Some people will apply dubbing wax to hold the 2 fibers on each side together, but it really isn't necessary.
Position your thread about 2 eye lengths behind the eye. Snip a sparse bundle of natural deer body hair free from the hide. Strip out the fuzzies and shorts and then stack the bundle. Keeping the tips aligned, measure the hair to create wings about 1 1/2 hook shanks in length. Snip the butts off right at this measurement. Butt the deer hair against the moose hair and secure it to the hook shank. Take tight wraps to compress and flare the deer hair. Separate it in half and make cross wraps to get the hair oriented perpendicular to the hook shank. Once you're satisfied with the orientation, begin posting the wing on the far side, 4 or 5 turns should do it. Then, repeat the posting process on the near side. You should end up with wings that look something like this. Keep them sparse.
For thorax dubbing, Matt uses a rabbit fur blend that's 2 parts burgundy, 1 part black and 1 part grey. Try to keep your dubbing noodle long and thin. Wrap the dubbing noodle to cover up the thread wraps and form a thorax. Cross over both ways, above and below the wings. Just behind the eye, do a 5 or 6 turn whip finish and then snip or cut your tying thread free.
This is one of those patterns that's actually easier to tie than it looks. These are large bugs that often elicit rather aggressive takes. They're a lot of fun to fish.