At the Vise: My Favorite Spring Nymph

After a lot of trial and error over the years, I found a nymph pattern that works well for me in the spring. It may not look like much, but for some reason it tends to be a top producer with both wild fish and stocked ones. The fly has worked all over New England and in Montana. It is a basic Pheasant Tail with a few tweaks.

Two of the important traits seem to be: orange for the collar and some CDC for animation. I tie these on jig hooks and scud hooks from size 8 down to 16.

I’ve tried various thread colors over the years, but flavors of orange seem to work best. I know Hendricksons can have hints of pink, but do they have orange, too? Pink has not worked for me in the spring.

I’ve also tried various body colors over the years, but undyed, “natural” has worked best for me. My guess is that the articulated marks show best when the fibers are not dyed.

What are your favorite nymphs for spring?


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13 thoughts on “At the Vise: My Favorite Spring Nymph

  1. Yes, totally. That ‘Duracell’ type or Beadhead Hotspot Pheasant Tail with an orange collar is my go to. Brown and natural pheasant tails work for me.

    1. I did! Split the thread, added wax, and used a materials clip (optional) to snip off the fibers before inserting them into the split thread.

  2. This Spring I’ve been fishing Rainbow Warriors in sz 12/14 with a white CDC collar. Dead drifted or lightly jigged. I assume the larger size and color imitates small minnows, but either way the big fish have been crushing it.

  3. I use regular pheasant tail with orange thread for head in size 16 & 18, no bead. Also a pheasant tail soft hackle size 14, 16, 18 with brown hen hackle for legs. I do the same with a black gnat soft hackle in same sizes using crow hackle tied on same as pheasant tail feathers, with copper wire for rib and all black thread. But have to say I am mostly shad fishing April, May, June—Chicopee River very high right now, as are the other rivers.

  4. Quasimodo PT size 14/16 for me. I notice a trend in the posts above! Trout seem to love PTail however it’s applied!

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