When turning to nymphs, we have so many options, and a great starting place in the Spring are mayfly nymphs. These represent so much of what is in the water, and are some of my favorite patterns to fish. As you may have noticed, this page is nearly synonymous with "Pheasant Tail nymphs" because they represent mayflies so well! Fish the patterns below with confidence when on waters with mayfly nymphs.
For this tutorial, I chose a simple pattern to represent BWO's and midges that even the beginner tyer can handle, the WD-40. Modifying this pattern from the original, I chose Coq de Leon fibers for the tail and wing case. The addition of this fiber adds to the durability of the pattern, plus the fibers are mottled with great coloration. This specific pattern is tied a chocolate brown, but don't be afraid to also try black, olive, grey, and anything else would be representational on your home waters.
Good things do come in small packages! In this fly tying tutorial, I share the procedures for tying the Cinnamon Toast Baetis, a unique BWO nymph. This pattern, created by Kevin Compton of Performance Flies, is a fun tie, plus it incorporates Condor Substitute for the body material. Have fun tying this one, though I know you'll appreciate its fish-catching ability even more!
During this demonstration, I vary the Pheasant Tail (originally tied by Frank Sawyer) to include a Coq de Leon tail and hot spot near the tungsten beadhead. By modifying this fly, it will be different than others fishing a similar imitation, while also increasing its durability and visibility for trout.
Featured in this fly tying tutorial is the "Improved" Pheasant Tail nymph, which is a classic in the fly fishing world. Using the word "improved" is where I tread softly because Frank Sawyer's original is a tough pattern to revise. With that said, in the video I substitute Coq de Leon as the tailing fibers for two reasons. First, the material is extremely durable and resistant to tearing. Second, the mottling featured on Coq de Leon is excellent, and very representational of mayfly nymphs.
In this fly tying tutorial, I demonstrate the techniques used to tie Lance Egan's Frenchie nymph. This effective pattern has been gaining popularity over the last few years, and with good reason: It catches trout! I offer a number of variations, including tying the fly on a jig hook, which will certainly appeal to many crowds, such as those in Euro or Czech-style nymph fishing and competition anglers. Feel free to share your own variations of this fly in the "Comments" section of the YouTube page for the Frenchie.
In this "Two Minute Fly Tying" tutorial, I wanted to share an effective pattern that is equally quick to tie, the Hot Belly Pheasant Tail. In this version, I have opted to remove the legs, and instead pull out sections of the thorax with velcro, thereby creating the impression of legs on the nymph. Have fun tying this pattern, and don't be afraid to vary the thorax with other dubbing; the "hot belly" is intended as a hot spot, and the possibilities are endless.
The Perdigon nymph is a special one that comes to us from competition fly fishing. This fly has a great look, plus the ability to catch both fish and fishermen. In this video, I show you the basics to tying the Perdigon and talk about its use when fly fishing.
Continuing the "Two Minute Tying" series, for this pattern, I chose the highly effective Pheasant Tail. During this fast tutorial, I demonstrate the basics behind this venerable pattern, plus add a tungsten bead and antron wingcase. Feel free to vary this pattern with hot spots (fluorescent-colored beads and/or antron), legs, and even peacock-dubbing.
Being one of the most popular nymphs of all time, naturally variations of Frank Sawyer's Pheasant Tail have become abundant. In this video, I share two variations of the Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail, and explain why I made each of the changes. These are both excellent patterns that deserve a place in your box.
The fly in this tutorial is both effective to fish and quick to tie, two of my favorite things to hear! This nymph, known as the WMD (Weapon of Mass Destruction for fish?!?), has a relatively simple construction, including a thread body and added hot spot. You can vary the materials, though the easiest change is thread color. I recommend carrying this pattern in a variety of colors and sizes to represent the natural insects in your area.
This fly tying tutorial features a fantastic nymph, the Flashback Pheasant Tail fly. This bead head pattern gets down to where the fish are and has more than enough flash to attract the attention of trout. Some will vary this fly by adding a hot spot to the head, though I feel that the flashback covered in UV glue is more than ample. Feel free to post your variations of this fly on my Facebook or Instagram channels; the one in this video has pheasant tail dyed olive versus the natural color.
During this fly tying tutorial, I give detailed tying instructions for Tracy Peterson's "Skinny Nelson," plus a few variations of the pattern (including a great one for midges). This pattern was originally developed for skinny water (as a baetis or midge imitation), but has since become known for its powers in the deep, primarily due to the addition of a tungsten bead. Popular species to fish for with this pattern include trout, grayling, steelhead, and salmon. In the second part of this video, I show and explain a number of ways to vary this pattern, which adds a lot more to the pattern. Please note that I chose to tie this on a standard-shanked hook, which is more representational of the flies in my area. I do mention a 1xl hook during the tutorial, which may better represent insects in your area.
In this fly tying tutorial, I selected one of the most popular flies in the country: John Barr's Copper John. This heavily weighted pattern is distinctive in its look; the Ultra Wire abdomen and epoxy over the wing case set this apart from other flies. When tying, I did vary the epoxy by utilizing a UV glass glue instead, plus I also encourage others to create their own variations to the Copper John.
In this fly tying tutorial, I show an easier version of the fish-catching nymph, the Copper John. In this version, I incorporate some characteristics of the Pheasant Tail, ala Frank Sawyer, hence the more appropriate name may be the Copper John & Frank!
The pattern that I show is not the original; instead, this is a variant that will be easier for beginning fly tyers to tie. The body is over-sized and adds some additional weight to get the fly on the bottom immediately. Once familiar with the process and steps, feel free to move onto the actual pattern, found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMGE9F...
Jig nymphs are nothing new to fly fishing, yet I've noticed that many are hesitant to take that initial plunge. During this video, I go over the tying procedures for a generic jig nymph, and then variations to enhance the pattern. Finally, the last section involves a discussion around fishing with this style of fly. As I mentioned in the video, don't be afraid to experiment and show your creativity when selecting materials to tie these nymphs!
***The fly tied during this video is a larger version of the "Tungsten Torpedo," a fly that fits the generic jig nymph mold perfectly.
In this video, I illustrate Aaron Jasper's Pineapple Express fly, a simple nymph that is highly effective in smaller sizes. The pattern is straightforward, but I also show a second fly with a variation in tail and hot spot color, plus detail how to finish the pattern with only the hot spot showing minus the thread (remember to apply head cement after using this technique!).
During this fly tying tutorial, I demonstrate the procedures to tie a slight variation of Charlie Craven's "Two Bit Hooker" nymph. This heavy mayfly nymph is intended to get to the bottom of the water column quickly, being that it is tied with two tungsten beads. The fly is a simple one to tie, and I encourage all to vary the colors and size to match the natural insects in your area. In this tutorial, I used olive thread, dubbing, and hen hackle, all to match the Blue Wing Olive (BWO nymph). A quick change of those will allow you to match the majority of other mayfly nymphs found in our streams.
During this fly tying tutorial for the Holy Grail nymph, I give a brief background on how I came across the pattern, followed by the materials and tying procedures. The Holy Grail, which I first came across on the Orvis website, is a no-nonsense pattern that can be utilized for both caddis and mayfly nymphs. It can easily be fished in a "dry-dropper" situation, and colors I recommend aside from this olive pattern include tan, brown, and black. If you decide to alter this pattern and find your variation more effective (or simply unique!), be sure to share in the comments section below.
One of the most effective ways to consistently catch trout is using nymphs, and catching them on flies tied by yourself is extremely gratifying. Deciding on the correct materials can be an overwhelming and confusing task, thus the purpose of this video is to break that process down into steps, starting with purchasing materials for mayfly nymphs. This video is intended to help the beginner to intermediate fly tyer select quality materials to build or enhance their fly tying collection. The materials discussed in this video are ones that I find essential to tying mayfly nymphs, hence their recommendation to others.
In this video, part 1 of 2, there is a discussion related to the following recommended materials (optional ones listed with an asterisk):
Hooks - 1xl nymph hook with standard or 1x heavy wire
Hook sizes - 50 of sizes 12, 14, & 16 and 25 of sizes 10, 18, & 20
*Same sizes, but a caddis/scud hook with standard or 1x heavy wire
Thread - 6/0 UNI thread in brown, black, tan, and olive
*Same colors, but 8/0 size
Weight (wire) - .010; *.015
Weight (beads) - 2 mm (5/64) & 2.5 mm (3/32) in gold
*2 mm & 2.5 mm in black and silver (disco beads)
*1.5 mm & 3 mm beads for small and large hooks
Ribbing - Copper & silver in size small
*Brown and black in size small
*Black, olive, & brown in size brassie
Head Cement - Sally Hansen "Hard as Nails"
This is the second video in a two part series on essential items needed to tie mayfly nymphs. Continuing where I left off in Part 1, I discuss materials that I believe are the "must haves" belonging on any fly tying bench in order to tie the most common and effective patterns. If you missed Part 1, please click on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw38_...
In this video, part 2 of 2, there is a discussion related to the following recommended materials (optional ones listed with an asterisk):
Tails - Pheasant tails
Hungarian Partridge skin
*Mallard / wood duck flank feathers
*Coq de Leon (medium or dark pardo)
Body - Thread (6/0 UNI) in brown, black, tan/cream, and olive
SLF Squirrel Spikey dubbing; black, brown, olive, and natural fox
Hare's mask; tan, *olive
Pheasant tail fibers; natural, *olive
*Turkey biots; black, brown, tan/cream, olive
Wing case - Turkey tail
*Thin Skin; mottled bustard or oak in natural
*UNI Mylar; Holographic Silver Size 12 (3/64")
Legs - Hungarian Partridge skin
*Hen neck; natural (brown), olive, and grizzly
Thorax - Peacock herl
*Hemingway's Peacock dubbing; https://frostyfly.com/shop/dubbing-di...
Link related to peacock dubbing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-UcF...
*UNI thread; chartreuse or pink
*Glo-Brite floss; chartreuse or pink
*Flashback - UNI Mylar
*Fluorescent beads; chartreuse or pink