Technically this classic form of spinner is a spent spinner. Spinners are any mayfly that has hatched, flown off to the bushes, shed their last molt and are ready to breed. Spent spinners are mayflies all finished with mating and laying eggs and are dying or dead. Spinners have clear wings whether they are just flying out of the bushes to mate or landing on the water to die and feed trout. Comparaduns and Justa Para do a great job of imitating both the duns (the sexually immature hatchlings with cloudy wings) or fresh spinners just landing on the water. Once the bug starts to die the wings wilt lying flat on the water, spent. At this stage, Comparaduns and Justa Paras need to be switched out to Justa Spinners.
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell when trout are eating spinners. An angler will see all kinds of adults with the wings upright but the fish aren’t eating them. Instead trout are easing up to the surface opening their mouth and letting spent spinners slide down their gullet. When you see the nose of a fish they are eating spent spinners. Dead drift the Justa Spinner trying to get it in a feeding lane of an active fish. If fish are up but not taking the a Justa Spinner that’s the right size and color start plucking or trimming the wing. Spent spinner wings get very clear and can even be crumpled. We tie our spinners with pretty sparse wings but there are plenty of times when thinning the wing a bit triggers a take. Don’t be shy about beating up the Justa Spinner, we tie it to stay together even if you pull on the wings and start clipping things.
Rusty spinners are the most popular color of spinners no matter the species.
Guides will often insist on a rusty spinner when the naturals aren’t even rusty colored. We also tie the Justa Spinner in olive and pale yellow in sizes 14 to 20.