Snowshoe Biot Emerger


Tying with snowshoe rabbit fur is not new. Historically, this fur has had a limited application in the world of fly tying. An old pattern called the “Usual,” created by tyer Fran Betters, is one of the few flies in the literature that feature snowshoe rabbit. I was introduced to the material by Ron English, who brought me a couple of feet from Canada some years ago. He liked it because of its flotation qualities and its natural sheen. I tied a few Caddis patterns with it and became a believer. Since then, while I’ve always carried a few with me, I’ve not experimented with the material by using it in other types of patterns.


Then along came Jim Schollmeyer and Ted Leeson’s winter, 2004 article in Fly Tyer magazine, entitled “A Good Hare Day.” This excellent article details how to prepare a snowshoe rabbit foot; where the best hair on the foot is located; and how best to use it while tying. They set out a number of snowshoe patterns, while pointing out that it can be substituted for other materials in many traditional patterns. I commend this article to you for a good history of this material, as well as instruction in how to use it. I have chosen one of those patterns, the Snowshoe Warren Emerger as the basis for the fly featured here. I call it the Snowshoe Biot Emerger because I have substituted a biot body for the more fragile peacock herl stripped quill. Otherwise, the fly is the same as the one in the article.





Standard dry-fly hook, such as Tiemco 100, #18 to 12.


8/0 Uni-Thread, color to match body

Tail (shuck)

Cream or tan antron yarn fibers

Body (abdomen)

Tan or sulphur turkey biot

Wing Case

Snowshoe rabbit fur (light, if available)


Dubbing of choice, color to match natural (here golden olive)





Tying instructions

  1. Place the hook in the vise and smash the barb. Cover the shank with thread back to the tail tie in point, which is directly above the back end of the barb.

  2. Tie in a few antron fibers for the shuck. They should be about as long as the hook shank.

  3. Tie in a turkey biot by the tip, with the “hard” edge toward the bend of the hook. Wrap the biot forward in nice tight turns to the thorax area, about 1/3 shank length behind the eye. Wrap back over it to about the mid point of the hook. This will secure it well.

  1. Cut and prepare a small bundle of snowshoe rabbit fur. As pointed out in the article mentioned above, the best hair is from the bottom of the heel, a little way back from the front of the foot. Don’t cut too much hair as it will be difficult to handle; use small bunches and combine them if needed. Not too much is needed for the wing case. Try to align the tips by adjusting them with your fingers; hair stackers don’t work well with this material. Tie the hair in at the midpoint of the hook, with the tips facing rearward—they should stick out well beyond the bend.

  2. Dub a nice full thorax.

  3. Pull the fur over the top of the thorax so that the tips now point out over the eye. Push back slightly so that a tiny space is created between the fur and the top of the thorax. Tie the fur down securely behind the hook eye.

  4. Pull the tips upward and create a small lump in front of the fur to force it to stick up at a roughly 45 degree angle.

  5. Whip finish and admire the result. The fly will sit nicely in the surface film without any floatant; if you do use floatant use it sparingly to avoid matting the fur. The rear of the fly should never under any circumstances be greased with floatant, as it is supposed to hang down beneath the surface.


Fish it where Caddis are emerging, and…see ya on the creek! By the way…check out my new web site:

Copyright 2005 by Granite Bay Flycasters unless otherwise noted