Light Cahill - Spinners
The spinners normally deposit their eggs and fall spent on the water very late in
the day or early evening. This happens in the same riffles and runs where they
hatch. The mayflies will mate several feet above the water. This activity is usually
easy to spot but only if you check overhead late in the day looking for them.
Otherwise, you may not notice them. The males fall dead and usually hit in the
water but some may also fall on the banks of the stream.
A short time after mating takes place, the females will return to the riffles and
runs to deposit their eggs. You can usually see them dipping to the water late in
the afternoon but not always. The bright light yellow color helps some but once
they fall spent on the water they are almost impossible to see under the low light
conditions they fall under.
In some cases the spinner fall may not occur until well after sunset on into the
evening or after dark. This usually happen on bright clear days near the end of
their hatch period when the water is quite warm. If it is cloudy and overcast, or
low light conditions occur in the afternoons, the spinner fall may start earlier in
Present the spinner imitation in the same water you would fish the dun imitation -
slower water immediately adjacent too the fast water but towards the end of the
runs and riffles. In pocket water, use the same short upstream or up and across
presentation you use for the dun. You should place your fly near the ends of the
current seams downstream of the fastest water where it begins to slow down. It's
a good idea to place your fly in the same area of the bubbles that are almost
always present near the end of the current seams.
In smoother water, this may require a downstream or a down and across
presentation. This presentation is also needed in cases where the spinners have
congregated at the very ends of the runs and riffles and in eddies. Sometimes
they will collect at the heads of pools. This usually happens a short time after the
spinners have fell. The later it is after the spinner fall has taken place, the more
you want to concentrate on fishing the slow water where the spinners would likely
be funneled or collected together by the current.
If you are not sure there are spinners on the water, you can quickly find out by
using a fine mesh skim net made for this purpose. Some models are made to fit
over your landing net. Just hold the net half out and half in the water will quickly
catch some of them if spinners are present. This is the best way to determine
what's going on in low light situations.
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