Favorite Flies

Nutmeg TU Chapter 217 helps fellow anglers by sharing patterns and tips for tying some of our favorite flies.

Plate VII from Frederick Halford's "Floating Flies and How To Dress Them" (1889)

Dry FliesEmergers & Wet FliesNymphsStreamers
There is nothing more fun than seeing a trout rise and take a dry fly. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Adams (video)
  • Blue Winged Olive mayfly (video)
  • Ed McQuat’s Brown Thing, a.k.a. EMBT (step by step) (tips from Mr. McQuat himself)
  • CDC & Elk caddisfly (video)
  • Comparadun (video) and Sparkle Dun (video) — both videos of Hendrickson mayflies
  • Griffith’s Gnat midge cluster (video)
  • Harrop Hairwing Dun mayfly (video)
  • Hi-Vis Ant, in black and cinnamon (video)
  • Last Chance Cripple mayfly (video)
  • Little Black Caddis (video) — also imitates early black stoneflies
  • Partridge Spent Caddis (video) — a bulbous, buggy fly; some splay the wings
  • Quack Coachman (video); also, Gray Wulff (video)
  • Quill Gordon (video)
  • Rusty Spinner spent mayfly (video)
  • Stimulator stonefly (video)
  • Tap’s Nearenuf (step by step)
  • Usual mayfly (video)
Very often trout do not target the actual dry fly, but the more vulnerable (because yet unable to fly away) emerging fly; that is, a nymph that is moving close to the water’s surface, ready to hatch. For centuries anglers have tied flies with soft materials that move enticingly in the water and glistening, translucent materials that look alive.

  • Blue Winged Olive emerger (video) and wet (check out UpCountry Sportfishing, on the very left)
  • Flymph mayfly (video)
  • Hornberg Special (video) — caddis dry fly doubles as a small streamer
  • Klinkhåmer Special caddisfly — but also mayfly (video or instructions by its creator, Hans van Klinken)
  • Leadwing Coachman caddisfly (video)
  • Parmachene Belle (step by step)
  • Partridge and Green/Orange/Purple/Primrose Yellow caddis and mayfly (video)
  • Rabbit’s Foot Emerger caddisfly (video)
  • RS2 mayfly (step by step)
  • Sangre de Cristo Emerger, a.k.a. Sprout Midge (pattern)
  • Sparkle Emerger caddis pupa (video)
Nymph fly fishing as we know it was developed in England and then spread, along with nymph patterns, around the world through the writings of G.E.M. Skues, Frank Sawyer and others. It may well be the most productive form of fishing.

  • American Pheasant Tail (video) – the original nymph, by Frank Sawyer, omitted the peacock herl thorax
  • Cooper Bug (video) – some fish it as a dry fly, looking like a Humpy without hackle
  • Copper John (video)
  • Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear (video)
  • Green/Rusty-brown Caddis Larva (video)
  • Prince Nymph (video)
  • Rainbow Warrior (video)
  • Red Fox Squirrel-Hair Nymph (step by step)
  • Shimmer Stone (video)
  • Sparrow Nymph (step by step)
  • Zebra Midge (video)
  • Zug Bug (video)

Though technically not nymphs, we’ll include a couple of egg flies (which are outlawed in some places):

You want big fish? Throw ’em something juicy — the imitation of a baitfish! Best in sizes 8-10; size 6 in larger streams.

  • Ballou Special (list of materials)
  • Black-Nosed Dace (video)
  • Edson Dark Tiger (article)
  • Grey Ghost (video) – originally meant for trawling for Maine’s big brookies, the fly can be cast if in smaller sizes
  • Headbanger Sculpin (video) and Ice Pick (video); Rich Strolis streamers that use Fish-Skull® heads
  • Marabou Black Ghost (video)
  • Muddler Minnow (video)
  • NearNuff Sculpin (video)
  • Saugatuck Special (step by step) – thank you C. “Pete” Peterson!
  • Slumpbuster (video)
  • Thunder Creek: Little brown trout/Mickey Finn (step by step)
  • Wooly Bugger (video)
  • Zonker (step by step)