Rabbit’s Foot or Snowshoe Hare Foot is a durable and versatile material for dry flies, emerges and nymphs. The hair from the feet is naturally water repellant and provides some natural buoyancy to flies tied with it. The hair can be used for wings, tails shucks and dubbing. Like many body hairs, the feet have an underfur which makes for an excellent dubbing. You simply clip a section of hair off the foot pad and pull or comb out the underfur to save for future use. The hair is also somewhat transparent in the water, allowing the light to glint off the strands of errant hair.
The most famous use of the foot hair likely comes from Fran Betters’ The Usual. The fly is simple and created from just snowshoe hare, thread and a hook. A clump of hair is tied in as a wing over the hook eye, and another tied in as a tail and then dubbed with the collected underfur. The dubbing can be short and wiry, but gives an ideal buggy look to the fly.
The natural colour of the hair will depend on when the animal was harvested. Winter hare’s will have white or cream hair while those taken in warmer months will have buff to darker brown hair. You can also find a number of dyed colours available from supplies like Hareline and Superfly which can be duns, olives, browns, sulphur and even some more exotic bright colours can be found. They are normally sold as a pair, but some sellers only list single feet.