One of my favorite streamers is a Double Bunny. It is simple and effective. I have caught bull trout, rainbows, smallmouth bass, and steelhead on this fly. Once fish get to a certain size they eat other fish. If you are tired of catching small fish, tie on a double bunny to see what kind of monsters are lurking under the water.
Many people tie this fly big. Very big. I use to tie it on a 4x long streamer hook and up to a size 2. Sure I could catch fish with it, but I hated casting it. Over time I have moved down to a size 6 2x long nymph hook and I have not noticed any difference in how well the Double Bunny catches fish. Now my flies take less room in the fly box (important for hike-in situations), the fly is easier to cast long distances, and it still catches lots of fish.
Part of the beauty of the double bunny is its simplicity. A hook, a bead or cone if you want, some added weight if you want, two strips of rabbit hair, and a little flash is all that is needed. My favorite color combination is grey on top with white on the bottom, but I will sometimes tie other colors as well. Don’t be afraid to try many different color combinations. They all seem to work, I just personally think grey over white works best. There is a good possibility that I think that because I fish grey over white the most, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Now to strategy. I will often dead drift the double bunny through a good spot first. If that doesn’t catch the fish I see or the fish I think should be there, I will cast again and twitch the fly intermittently. The Double Bunny rides upright with no tension, but when you apply some tension to the line in the form of a twitch–the fly rotates until it is upside down. Twitching the line makes the fly rotate back and forth like an injured or dying baitfish. Nothing says dinner to a big fish better than a white belly turning towards the sky and struggling to remain upright.
If that fails, strip the fly hard and fast and then pause. This is a good tactic in those slow deep pools where you imagine a lunker is lying at the bottom.
The last way I fish the Double Bunny is by swimming it. Sometimes this means guiding it across current between rocks. It is always fun to watch a fish come out of his hiding spot and give chase. Just don’t set the hook too early. Let me repeat that, DONT SET THE HOOK TOO EARLY! Inevitably we all set the hook too early at some point in time and pull the fly away from the fish before its mouth has finished closing around the Double Bunny. But the excitement was worth it; don’t worry you will get another chance.
Another way I like to swim the fly is by casting upstream, allowing my fly to sink, mend upstream so your flyline is upstream of your fly. Then slowly apply a small amount of tension to your Double Bunny so that it begins to swing out of the current towards the surface like a rising trout. This often triggers a strike from a bigger fish waiting nearby. If the nearby big fish is not enticed mend back into the current letting your fly drop deeper and move back into the current and repeat the process until you are through the run, pool, or pocket water.
The important thing to remember is that if you are not catching fish, change something. Are you fishing deep enough? Perhaps adding a couple of splitshot 12 inches above the Double Bunny will do the trick. Are you dead drifting and nothing is reacting? Start fishing your fly actively. The fish may need to see a fleeing baitfish to get energized. If you have been stripping your fly and not catching anything, slow your retrieve down or even try dead drifting. When Chinook begin to decay and die, a dead drifted Double Bunny is often all that is needed. There are many right ways to fish the Double Bunny, enjoy them all!