The Bunny Leech! What can I say? What should I say and where to begin?
As a lifelong fly fisherman, I can attest to the reliability, fish-appeal, durability, and strike-provoking deadliness of this simple yet highly effective pattern. If you are looking for a last minute addition to your fly box, simply looking to try something new or if you are a fly-prepper
(like myself) and wanting to tie up several dozen flies for your next trip look no further than the Bunny Leech.
As the icy fingers of winters cold grip slowly lose control and let loose the spring thaw there is one fly that I will have in my fly box and plenty of them: The Bunny Leech.
Early in the year, during or right after ice-off, this general-purpose fly seems to wreak havoc on pre-spawn Rainbow Trout as well as just about any fish eager for a big meal. Mimicking a highly important food source during the early season (annelids), the Bunny Leech is deadly in slow moving sections of rivers and is equally deadly in lakes. Since Leeches reproduce in the Spring, this fly can be fished all day long with success but is best fished during the early morning hours or in the evening and late into the night.
Growing up fishing the high alpine stillwaters of South Park and North Park, this fly was and is always my fly of first choice when probing an unspoiled section of water or stripping over weed beds. Whether casting a Bunny Leech with floating line, intermediate, or full sink; whether beadless, articulated, or beaded this fly is sure to get you results. But buyer beware make sure to hold on tight! I am sure many of you can attest to the voraciousness and violence of the strikes when stripping in a Bunny Leech!
And that is what I love about this fly. Rainbows, Browns, Bass, Pike they all love em some Bunny Leech and they strike with such power it is truly a unique experience on the fly rod.
Equally entertaining and highly suggested is to drift this pattern on your second setup when kicking around in your float tube. One minute your eyes are laser-focused on the nymph rig indicator when suddenly, out of nowhere, your second fly rod doubles-over!
The Black Bunny Leech may lack the glitz and glamour of some of the newer patterns and may even be collecting dust and a little rust in your fly box. Next time you hit the water and are staring at the endless options inside your fly box bust out a Bunny Leech and hold on tight!
Not a fan of the Bunny Leech? Got another go-to favorite? What is your favorite Spring time fly?
Mike is a Colorado native and grew up fishing for all species, during all seasons, with all methods.
The Black Bunny Leech is always a go-to fly! Additionally, different variations and colors especially a rust colored variation with squirrel tail is a must have.