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Spinner fall

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2011/7/6 12:30
From Ephrata, PA
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Just a question about spinners and such. I was reading Dave's article on the front page. He mentioned the spent wing spinners. When they're in this stage, is this what you guys mean by the term, "spinner fall"?

Posted on: 2012/4/18 7:58


Re: Spinner fall

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From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Yes.

For most species, this is an evening thing, often right at dusk or after. There are exceptions. Such as tricos, where the spinner fall is the main event (since the hatch is overnight), and it occurs in the morning. I've run into daytime blue quill spinner falls too. Other than that, all the superhatches that I've been a part of, it's an evening, usually LATE evening event.

The spinner falls are the huge bonanza events, though. Hatches are usually spread out over a few hours. Spinner falls are when they swarm, and then all fall on the water in a much shorter time frame, sometimes it only lasts 15 minutes or so. Heck, in some cases, bugs from SEVERAL days worth of hatches all combine into a single swarm and fall at the same time.

Posted on: 2012/4/18 8:14


Re: Spinner fall

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See, I NEVER caught a spinner fall. I've caught lots of hatches, but never the infamous spinner fall. Every time that term is used, I thought, "what the heck is that?" After reading Dave's article, it made sense and I realized why I didn't know what it was...'cause I never saw it!

Maybe this year I'll see it.

Posted on: 2012/4/18 8:18


Re: Spinner fall

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You goin to the jam? If so, and if it doesn't rain hard (yeah right, lol), and you stay well past dark, I can about guarantee you'll catch a spinner fall.

Staying past dark is key. I've seen em come early but most often they don't hit the water till the moment you need a flashlight to tie on a new fly.

Of course, if that doesn't work out, I can certainly put you on some trico spinner falls later in the summer. They're awfully reliable like that.

Posted on: 2012/4/18 8:26


Re: Spinner fall

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I probably have caught trico spinner falls, just didn't know what they were.

Yeah I'll be at the Jam. Coming up Saturday afternoon into Sunday. I'll fish as late as I have to w/out missing the big meal/jam session!

Posted on: 2012/4/18 8:29


Re: Spinner fall
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Spinner falls can be awesome. Each mayfly is different, but the ones I enjoy occur late evening usually right at dusk. At that time the spinners start coming out of the and over the streams. Often times you don't even know that it is starting because they are high above your head. Once you look up and seem them bobbing up and down and massive display of insects you recognize it.

Thousands of spinners then start making their way closer to the water to deposit their eggs. They will pop up and down until the hit the water. Then if all goes right the fish start taking these spinners. During the coure of this the spinners die after depositing their eggs.

So in the water hopefully the fish will be taking the egg laying spinners and the dead spent wing spinners. Here is a story about this that I wrote.

Usually in addition to the spinner fall there is another species of mayflies emerging so you end up with a mixed hatch of emerges and spinners all around. You just hope to figure our what the trout are keying in on.

Some mayflies you really never see a spinner fall. I have been at streams for a week and never saw the spinner fall do to bad weather, but figure they just land late at night when we weren't around.

You will hear variations to this, but for the part this is how the song is played.

Posted on: 2012/4/18 8:39


Re: Spinner fall

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Well, that's always a trade-off at the jam. Many of the "official" activities are Saturday evening, so you have that decision to fish, or socialize. To make matters worse, the famous waters are a minimum half hours drive from the campsite. The LJR is closer to an hour.

I never really liked that part of it. We put all the activities at the most productive fishing time. But I s'pose I don't have a better suggestion.

I probably cut out a little earlier than I would otherwise, but I still fish till I can't see. With a walk back to the car, taking off of waders, drive home, etc., I'm usually at the pavillion with a beer in hand somewhere around 11 p.m. Which means I'll miss the dinner and the guest speaker. But everyone will be up and socializing for at least another hour or two, the hardcore guys for 3 or 4 more hours. And I usually catch the raffle and the music.

Posted on: 2012/4/18 8:43


Re: Spinner fall

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Fished a sulphur spinner fall last year until I couldn't see a foot in front of me. It was hard to get back out as I did not predict being there that late and didn't have a flash light with me. It was dangerous but worth every second. The water was boiling. When this happens, it's hard to believe that there are that many fish in the stream, and it is almost impossible to target any one fish.

Posted on: 2012/4/18 9:15
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Re: Spinner fall

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2012/4/8 10:21
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I am learning so much since I have joined paflyfish. Each time a new topic opens up I get inspired to learn it and go from there. This is really great stuff.

So my mind starts racing with questions like: how long after the spinner fall do the eggs hatch, how long after that until the first molt,
come fall How well developed will the nymphs be?

I'm sure these topics will arise here and we'll have plenty of info when the time has come. I'm just expressing how each new nugget of info leads to more exploration. What a wonderful thing!

Posted on: 2012/4/18 10:34


Re: Spinner fall

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Those are good questions that I don't have the answer to. I suspect the answers are highly species specific.

Posted on: 2012/4/18 12:10


Re: Spinner fall

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From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
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ALWAYS have a light source when fishing. I probably carry 2-3 headlamps and some extra batteries in my pack just in case.

Pat showed me my first spinnerfall on Spring at the JAM 4 years ago. I just was just in awe watching all these fish hit the water that I could barely fish. It was awesome! Now I chase after that over and over again every year.

Tie up some basic rusty spinners in sz 12-18 and it should cover you for most spinnerfalls. (Some exceptions are Tricos because they're small and black, and Green Drakes because they're big and white.)

Posted on: 2012/4/18 13:26
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Re: Spinner fall

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Some of the best fly fishing involves spinner falls, especially when it's getting dark. Trout start to lose their wariness as it gets dark and often change from duns to spinners as you are fishing the duns. The rise form is very different from the rise form of a hatch. It is basically a porpoising rise, where you see the back of the fish and not what it's taking. Put another way, you will see only the rings on the surface.

When trout are taking spinners you'll often see them just beneath the surface taking flies within a small area and never really going down. This happens during a trico spinner fall and after dark. The trick after dark is to get in a position when you can see at least some light reflecting on the water so you can see the rings.

You'll also see this when fishing over trout taking mayfly emergers just under the surface, the difference is that you'll often see aggressive rises when trout are taking emergers just under the surface.

When trout are taking mayflies on the surface you'll often see the trout’s nose comes out of the water, or the nose to tail rise. You’ll see a bubble on the surface which means the trout is gulping air as well as flies. The rise is more casual if the flies are drifting a long way before getting air born.

Caddis have what could be called a spinner fall, they are spent caddis, meaning they’ve laid their eggs and have dropped on the surface dead. Trout act the same way when taking spent caddis as the do taking spinners.
Keep in mind some flies plunge into the water to lay eggs so it’s a bit harder to see the fish taking the flies when they do this. Many Baetis species swim to the bottom to lay eggs as well as some caddis.

Posted on: 2012/4/18 22:02
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Re: Spinner fall
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Pauly,

I think there is no one best answer for your question. Many of the traditional mayfly stages vary greatly from species to species. Most of the common mayflies we all discuss her have a annual lifecycle. So I will try and generalize the answer.

Working backwards, the spinner (imago) stage is a very short time period lasting days or hours before they mate, lie eggs and die. The dun emerger (subimago) can last hours or days before molting one final time.

As nymphs (naiads) they live under the water as part of their longest life phases. The nymph phase makes up about about 75% of their lives and they may molt many, many times as they grow over the year. They crawl, swim, burrow, cling and eat in a stream during this phase.

The eggs hatch in weeks or up to a couple of months.

Again generalizations not based on any one species.

This has been a pretty successful species and lifecycle. There is evidence in the fossil record that mayflies have been around for 300 million years.

Posted on: 2012/4/18 22:05


Re: Spinner fall

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Expousing on Chaz's point of watching for changing riseforms: Often it's dark, and I struggle to see the riseforms well enough to notice something like that! Maybe I need to improve my night vision. Don't carrots or something help with that?

But if in flatter water where the sound of the current doesn't drown out everything, you can actually HEAR the change in the riseforms!

Posted on: 2012/4/18 23:24


Re: Spinner fall

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I like to trail a spinner pattern off of my dun when I know a spinner fall is likely eminent. That way I don't have to worry about switching over (can be tough in the dark). Of course this is less practical with Green Drakes (tough to throw a pair of size 4 or 6 dries).

Posted on: 2012/4/19 16:33
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