Ode to the Bunny Leech

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 winter’s 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 time of year is when action on a Leech pattern can reach epic levels! The Bunny Leech can be fished all day long with high success but is best fished during the early morning hours or in the evening and late into the night.

Tending to the fly box & inventory of flies
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.

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!

The final moments of battle with a spring time Rainbow Trout that had crushed the Black 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!

What is your favorite Spring time fly? Not a fan of the Bunny Leech? Got another go-to favorite? If you are looking to add to your fly collection and don’t have time to hit the fly tying bench, check out the high quality flies and innovative work going on over at Rocky Mountain Fly Design, they’ll have what you are looking for!

*This post can also be seen at ColoradoFishExplorer.com

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