The Bunny Dun has been popularized throughout the Rocky Mountain region by Jim Cannon of the Blue Quill Angler in Evergreen, Colorado.
Snowshoe rabbit foot hair is used for the wing as its’ inherent flotation properties allow for both realism and sparsness in the pattern.
I like to use a goose biot body on patterns like this if for no other reasons than the detail they add as well as the opportunity to show the technique used to apply them.
The Bunny Dun is a great floater, has a very realistic silhouette and is quite durable. Tie a few up and give them a try.
Hook: TMC 101 #16-22
Thread: 8/0 UNI or 10/0 Gudebrod, Gray
Tails: Dun Microfibetts
Abdomen: Gray Premo Goose Biot
Wing: Dun Snowshoe Rabbit Foot Underfur
Thorax: Dark Dun Beaver Dubbing
Attach the thread and wrap back to the bend of the hook.
Tie in four Microfibetts so they are one shank length long at the bend of the hook. Make only two wraps over the base of the tails to hold them in place. Be sure the tails are centered on top of the hook shank.
Press your thumbnail up against the base of the tails to separate and flare them.
The tails should now be flared slightly up and separated two to a side. Pull the tailing fibers apart to further separate them. Ultimately, you want there to be two fibers on each side of the shank.
Take a six-inch length of gray 8/0 thread and loop it under the bend of the hook behind the tying thread. Pull the two ends of the 8/0 thread together and pull them up between the divided tailing fibers (two to a side, remember?).
Detail of thread loop splitting tails.
Twist the 8/0 thread slightly to roll it into a cord and slide the loop up to the base of the tails.
Pull the tag ends of the thread forward to divide the tails into two separate groups. You can control the angle of the tails with the amount of tension you apply to the 8/0 thread loop. Pull forward tightly to really spread them out, or loosely to keep them a bit closer together. Either way is acceptable and is open to personal interpretation.
Once you have achieved the tail angle you like, tie the 8/0 loop down with the tying thread. Wrap forward over the tag ends of the thread and the butt ends of the tailing fibers to the sixty percent point on the shank.
Detail of tail angle.
Clip the tag ends of the thread loop and the butt ends of the tailing fibers off flush against the shank. Return the thread to the base of the tail. Make sure the thread is right up to the base of the tails, but not overlapping them or disturbing the angle.
Tie in a goose biot by its very tip end with the ribbed edge down. Wrap forward tightly, over the tip of the biot, to the seventy percent point on the shank. The tip of the biot only extends to the +/-forty percent point on the shank, but we want to continue the thread underbody further up the hook shank.
Detail of the biot tie in. The notched edge at the base of the feather is facing down, which will produce a smooth body with a dark rib when wrapped.
Wrap the tying thread forward from the seventy percent point to the hook eye and back again to about two eye lengths back from the eye. This will form a smooth thread base for the wing.
Cut a small clump of underfur from the bottom of the rabbit’s foot. It’s hard to cut a clump small enough to work with, so go ahead and cut what you can, then thin the clump down into a smaller bunch. For a size eighteen fly, the clump of hare’s foot should be slightly smaller in diameter than a toothpick.
Divide the clump of fur in half and oppose the tip ends of each bunch. That is, point the tips in one half the clump to the right and the tips of the other half the clump to the left. Grasp the two clumps as one unit and preen out any unruly or short fibers. Pull out any extra-long fibers also. The base of the underfur is what we want here, it is quite kinky and provides the flotation on the finished fly. You should now have a single clump of underfur with the tips and butt ends mixed on either end.
Roll the clump of underfur into a small bunch and lay it across the hook with the center of the bunch touching the hook shank. Make three turns of thread from the back to the front to bind the fur down.
Pull the clump of fur on the far side of the hook forward and make another three turns of thread from the front to the back. This all sounds complicated, but all you are doing is making a series of X-wraps to bind the clump down. You should now have a set of snowshoe rabbit foot spinner wings.
Reach down from the top of the hook and grasp both of the wings at their bases. Pull up on the wings, combining them into one clump on the top of the shank. Hold the wings together while you make a couple turns of thread around the base of the clump, like you would on a parachute post. These wraps should not travel up the wing, but instead, stay tight around the bottom of the wing base.
Now, bring the thread behind the wing (it is hereafter referred to in the singular as we have combined the two bunches into one) on the near side of the hook and come over the top of the shank and down again on the far side of the hook.
Come up from the bottom far side to the top of the near side with the thread and down over the top of the hook in front of the wing. These wraps are forming a tight figure eight around the base of the wing. Make all of these wraps tight, as they will continue to compress the wing into a single bunch.
Make a single anchoring wrap of thread completely around the hook at the immediate back edge of the wing.
Pull the wing forward and make two turns of thread over it at the base to hold it out over the hook eye. This will hold the wing out of the way while we form the biot body.
Detail of temporary wing tie down. Use only one wrap to jump forward onto the base of the wing and only two turns to hold the wing forward.
Grab the biot in the tip of your hackle pliers and wrap it with slightly overlapping turns up to the base of the wing. Make sure to grip the butt of the biot straight in line with the tip of the pliers, as this will make them hold much more securely. One tip on wrapping the biot: Make the first few turns as vertical as possible so the raised rib becomes overlapped by the following edge of the feather. Spread the turns out a bit as you advance up the hook.
While holding the butt of the biot in your hackle pliers above the hook at the base of the wing, unwind the three turns of thread holding the wing forward and make three tight turns of thread over the biot to tie it down.
Detail of biot tie down.
Clip the remaining butt end from the biot and make a few more turns of thread over the stub to cover it.
Apply the beaver dubbing to the thread in a fine, thin strand. Overlap the dubbing onto the front edge of the biot abdomen and continue forward to the base of the wing.
Cross the dubbing under the wing and wrap it forward up to the index point.
Criss-cross the remaining dubbing to the back of the wing and wrap a couple figure eights around the wing base to fill out the thorax. End with bare thread at the index point.
Whip finish and clip the thread at the index point.
Trim the wing to a shank length long. I also like to trim the back of the wing at a slight angle to mimic the shape of the natural mayfly.
Finished Fly, Top View. Notice the split tails and the prominently ribbed abdomen.
Finished Fly, Bottom View. Note that the abdomen tapers smoothly into the thorax. Also, note that the wings are slightly divided.
Finished Fly, Frontal View. Note the arc of the wing.