Fly Tying 1 min read

[Video] Rosenbauer’s Lucky Rabbit Foot Emerger

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

March 1, 2024

Rosenbauers lucky rabbit foot fly

Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions demonstrates how to tie Tom Rosenbauer’s Lucky Rabbit’s Foot Emerger in this fly-tying video.

What Makes it Lucky?

Well it is made from a rabbit’s foot, right? Kidding aside, Tom Rosenbauer, noted author and host of the Orvis Fly Fishing Guide Podcast, developed this pattern 20 years ago while a guide in Yellowstone National Park. To this day, it’s still his go-to emerger pattern.

In a recent podcast where Tom named his top 12 dry flies that will catch fish “anywhere in the world”, there was only one emerger on the list: Tom’s snowshoe-rabbit foot emerger. I’d say that qualifies this emerger pattern as lucky.

What Makes it Work?

Undoubtedly, the snowshoe-rabbit foot fur has a lot to do with the success of this pattern. Snowshoe rabbit fur is just one fly-tying material with near-magical properties. It’s tough, floats like a cork, and is just buggy in the water. I don’t know how else to describe it.

Next is the non-specific nature of this pattern. Many describe it as a mayfly emerger pattern, but in discussing it on his podcast, Tom theorizes that it works equally well to imitate an emerging caddis or even a small adult stonefly.

Mayfly, Caddis or Stonefly?

Tom’s theory is that if you observe an emerging mayfly or caddis up close when trying to escape from the surface of the water, they look pretty similar and share three characteristics: an emerging wing, a trailing shuck, and legs.

Tom’s emerger pattern imitates all 3 of these characteristics with the Snowshoe rabbit (wing), Antron (shuck), and CDC (legs). All you need to do is vary the pattern size and maybe the colors a bit and you can cover a wide range of emerging mayflies and caddisflies with this one pattern.

Tom’s rabbit-foot emerger may also represent a small adult stonefly since the pattern rides very low in the water, with just the Snowshoe rabbit wing riding on the water’s surface, as Tim Flagler illustrated in the video.

I suppose nobody knows what a trout thinks, but one thing I know for sure is that this pattern flat-out works.

Rosenbauer’s Rabbit Foot Emerger Material List

Hook: Dai-Riki 125 (or favorite curved emerger hook), size 14-20
Thread: UTC 70, Brown Olive
Shuck: Antron Dubbing, Chocolate Brown
Abdomen: Rabbit-Fur Dubbing, Olive
Hackle: CDC, Dun
Wing: Snowshoe-Rabbit’s Foot Hair
Head: Rabbit Fur, Dark Olive