In the world of fly fishing, these nymphs are considerably easier to fish than dry flies in many ways. However, picking the right nymph is truly challenging. Regardless of color, a well-presented fly with proper size and form brings a higher chance of success.
In this article, we listed out the top 18 nymph flies that are considered the most popular and deadly tackle for trout. Get ready to jot down some informative pieces of knowledge!
List Nymph For Trout
1. Zebra Midge
When it comes to midge designs, the Zebra Midge outperforms all other nymph flies. It is a simple pattern that depicts midge larvae in a deadly pattern. A simple thread body with a weighted bead head and a peacock herl thorax works way better than we expect.
Moreover, this thing comes in a variety of hues for you to pick. Some common designs of the Zebra Midge are black/silver or red/silver, with different sizes ranging from 16 to 20. In general, the red version often attracts more fish, as it can also mimic a small bloodworm.
In fact, there are two things that contribute to the effectiveness of this pattern. First of all, since midges are present in most bodies of water, trout can eat them everywhere. The second aspect, and maybe the most crucial one, is that they consistently hatch throughout the year, providing trout with food.
And lastly, anglers can make subtle adjustments to attract a fish’s attention. As long as this type of nymph is still in favor of anglers, you can be assured that every fly shop worldwide keeps a good supply of these trout killers on hand.
2. Hare’s Ear
A Hare’s Ear is a great fit for natural mayfly imitation. It’s a classic pattern in the world of fly fishing that seems to get inadequate attention nowadays.
In terms of structure, the gold ribbing, flashback wing case, and bead give the hare’s ear a little extra sparkle. Personally, I believe that this combination of elements attracts trout effectively. It’s also one of the most highly recommended fly patterns for beginners because it’s so simple to tie.
Consider having a few of these designs in your tackle box, with sizes ranging from 12 to 18. Also, try a variety of colors, particularly olives. The Hare’s Ear entices the trout to strike all year long since it represents nearly all of the nymphs in the trout’s diet.
The Frenchie is an attractor nymph, designed to draw in curious or hungry trout rather than matching the hatch. Developed by a fishing guru, Lance Egan, it takes the fish-catching abilities of the Pheasant Tail Nymph and puts them on a more advanced platform.
Some anglers admit that they used to catch so many fish with a Frenchie that by the end of the day, they might have only a few strands of pheasant tail wrapped around a hook.
A key trigger mechanism for this pattern is the color of the ice dubbed thorax and the hotspot thread collar that is tied just behind the bead. This combination makes the Frenchie a killer fly pattern that will work year-round.
4. Prince Nymph
The Prince Nymph, also known as the Brown Forked Tail, has a peacock herl body that is wrapped in gold or copper wire. Though it is an old-school pattern, the Prince Nymph is undoubtedly among the top 10 fly-fishing nymphs of all time, together with the Hare’s Ear and the Pheasant Tail. You can find it in almost any fly shop in the world.
For the design of this nymph fly, its neck is made up of brown soft hackle fibers. Furthermore, the distinctive feature is the use of two white goose biots for the wings and two brown goose ones for the tail. However, this trait makes it challenging to tie the fly, at least for novice fly tiers who are trying to secure these biots in the right position.
5. Sow Bug
Sowbugs are small aquatic crustaceans. However, they look more like doodlebugs than shrimp. Just randomly turn over any rock searching for stonefly or mayfly nymphs, and you’ll likely find sowbugs.
If you plan on fishing a tailwater fishery, filling your fly box with a good sow bug is a valuable support. An effective sow bug fly pattern will be tied in gray and olive tones. They will often be shorter than a quarter of an inch in length and tied on straight shank hooks.
Fortunately, sowbugs are present all year long, constantly floating up and down the water column. At any time of year, they are a fantastic pattern for trout fishing, but they particularly shine in the colder months.
6. Utah Killer Bug
The Utah Killer Bug is a variation of Sawyer’s Killer Bug. It represents a crane fly nymph, which is huge – larger than a stonefly – and hatches all year in spring creeks and freestone streams all around the country.
Their nymphs resemble enormous white grubs, and you can rest assured that trout will not ignore such appealing bait flying passing them.
Trout love to eat eggs, and luckily, the Glo Bug is the most well-known fish egg imitation. Believe it or not, egg patterns are great for catching fish during the spawn. Bigger trout will hang around fish that are spawning and eat their eggs.
A small tip is that if salmon or steelhead are breeding in your local waters, use the Glo Bug, and it will not take long for you to land something. Moreover, if you want to get it deeper in the water column, you might need to attach a split shot.
8. Walt’s Worm
The Walt’s Worm must be misnamed because its body is cigar-shaped and doesn’t appear to represent any specific insect or worm. The fly was named after its inventor, Walt Young. However, it is truly a trout killer, as this lethal fly has accounted for hundreds and hundreds of trout and steelhead.
The effectiveness of Walt’s Worm stems from its simplicity. With only dubbing and wire, anglers couldn’t ask for a simpler fly variant. It works well on pressured tailwaters when trout get bored of seeing the same patterns, again and again, all day.
Perdigon has a simple pattern with few components: a slim body, a simple tail, ribbing, and an oversized bead. Yet, it works incredibly well.
As a result of these factors, this nymph sinks like a rock. In comparison to other flies, Perdigon nymphs will sink more quickly and remain in feeding locations under strong currents for a longer period. Also, the resin shell helps it last longer than normal.
The fly is a common motif that simultaneously mimics several aquatic insects. Size is another crucial factor; because Perdigon nymphs are small, they can trick fish more easily than larger flies.
10. Iron Lotus
The Iron Lotus is a weighted fly that is most commonly used for “Euro Nymphing” or “Tightlining”, a European style of nymphing. Generally, this fly is tied to resemble a mayfly nymph that swims against the current.
With an Iron Lotus nymph in hand, you can be confident in catching loads of fish while waiting for a blue-winged olive hatch to kick off.
11. Bear’s Hex Nymph
A great friend Jeff “Bear” Andrews is a fly designer for this fishing pattern the day before the legendary Midwest “Hex” hatches. This fly has gained popularity throughout the area because trout love it.
The heavily weighted Bear’s Hex has proven lethal wherever and whenever big Hexagenia mayflies hatch, as it has a fat, meaty mouthful that huge trout simply cannot resist.
12. Pat’s Rubber Legs Stonefly
This stonefly nymph could be the most well-known one available right now. In terms of benefits, it’s simple to tie, deadly effective, and comes in a wide range of fishy color combinations. Even better, you can layer tons of lead beneath the chenille body, making it an ideal option for the point fly on a Euro nymphing rig.
In the early part of the fishing season, when trout are searching for a substantial meal after a trying winter, fishing with this fly on small spring creeks is ideal.
For the time being, the WD-40 fly is one of the simplest yet most efficient mayfly midge larvae you may keep in your tackle box. Since midges are typically so tiny, the WD-40 works best tied in sizes ranging from 16 to 22, with 20 being the best.
During the last 20 or so years, the WD-40 has consistently surprised many anglers with how effective such a tiny fly can be, especially on tailwaters. Bear in mind that if you spend a lot of time fishing below dams, you should have a couple of dozen WD-40s on hand.
14. Flashback Baetis Nymph
The Flashback Baetis Nymph is the less-stylized version of the Iron Lotus, which is considered a must-have staple in any angler’s fly box for any spring or fall outing in Rocky Mountain trout water. It mimics the immature stage of a mayfly belonging to the Baetidae family, an appealing meal that trout will not refuse.
The tight-knit and slim profile makes it extremely deadly for matching the Baetis family (aka the Blue-Winged Olive Mayfly). A little wing pad and flashback piece make this pattern pop in the water. As a result, this fly works incredibly well.
15. Higa’s SOS
A local Utah guide, Spencer Higa, created this fly which soon becomes a staple in the fly fishing community. The SOS works in different water situations since it is light, compact, bright, and hefty.
In addition, its bright red bead head makes fishing in clear water a blast. You observe fish approaching your nymph easier when there is a vivid red bead on the front of it.
16. Copper John
The Copper John is a mayfly nymph pattern that sinks quickly in the water column and can catch trout in nearly any situation. Despite being an older, more classic pattern, this one hasn’t fallen out of favor since it continues to outperform its peers.
For fly tiers, especially novices, it can be difficult to put the pattern together. In terms of features, this little fly is, in my opinion, the heaviest and most durable on the list. Although the Copper John might not resemble any specific water insects, it looks attractive enough that fish can’t ignore it.
17. San Juan Worm
A San Juan Worm is made of a single piece of chenille that is affixed to a hook, and that’s all. Some variations are even simpler than that. Just simply tie a piece of chenille directly to the hook with an overhand knot not to create an easy worm. Still, others with more complexity may include yarn and sparkle.
In fact, some fly fishermen believe that the San Juan Worm has saved them from many days of being skunked, and on some rivers, it’s the only fly that fish eat. For decades until now, it’s been such a simple fly that operates surprisingly effectively.
18. Euro Nymphs
Euro-style nymphs are fantastic for several reasons. Their slim profile, hints of flash, and tungsten beads drop them quickly into feeding lanes. They are also suggestive enough to lure trout.
Euro-style nymphs on jig hooks are a good choice when fishing fast water or even just when you need to fill a fly box in an hour. They frequently hang up on bottomless, which extends the length of time you may fish as a bonus.
Setting Up A Nymphing Rig For Successful Fly Fishing
As diverse as anglers are, so are nymph rigs. Yet there are several features that all nymph rigs share, which are elaborated on in this article.
To begin with, investing in a standard 9-foot 5x leader is your best bet for a reliable nymph rig on your fly rod. Next comes your indicator. While wool and yarn indicators also have their time and place, plastic bobbers are more widely used as they add the lightest weight to the river’s surface.
Practically, you never fish with a single nymph. Starting with about 3 nymphs is a good choice, one of which is 15 inches below an indicator, followed by 2 feet of tippet. Then, tie two more nymphs onto either end of a 15-inch section of the leader.
Make sure to tie on the biggest nymph at the top of your rig first, then the smaller ones. By dividing the flies in this way, more of the water column is covered, and the drift is more natural. Furthermore, this allows you to cover three distinct water column zones and presents your flies to as many fish as you can on each drift.
Finally, be aware of your fly’s weight. If they’re heavy enough, you can get away with fishing them alone. Or else, a split shot placed slightly above each fly will guarantee that they descend and remain as long as possible in the strike zone.
When To Fly Fish With Nymphs
Unfortunately, you do not see any actively, regularly rising trout when you want to fish nymphs. So what do you do in that circumstance? As a general guideline, if there isn’t much activity above the surface, it’s time to get down and dirty with nymphs. Random rises here and there are expected.
Nymphs are also an efficient approach in deep pools and slow eddies on river bends. Being opportunistic feeders, trout will only move to eat a fly if doing so will increase their caloric intake. Thankfully, the trout concur that it is not a good survival strategy to use more energy than they would receive from a meal.
In particular, the trout are not likely to be in areas with extremely swift currents, so avoid concentrating your fishing efforts there as well. Search for current seams, eddies, slacks, pools, and glides where trout can be found. And after that, toss your nymphs a short distance in front of those trout.
Focus on presenting the flies for just long enough that trout can see them and move to eat them, but not so long that the fish catch onto the fact that your nymphs aren’t real.
Where To Buy Nymphs For Fly Fishing
At this point, all this information may lead you to a consideration: Is there any place to buy these qualified fly nymphs in case you do not have the time or even the skill to tie them?
Keep going. We have some places to recommend:
- Tactical Fly Fisher
- Trident Fly Fishing
- Trouts Fly Fishing
Best Euro Nymph Patterns
As you might know, there are hundreds of Euro nymph fly patterns out there. They all provide anglers with benefits such as a fast sink rate, a slim profile, or even a built-in trigger in the form of a flash body, a fluorescent collar or tag, and a brightly colored bead.
Among these numerous choices, the following patterns stand out:
- Perdigon Nymph
- Zebra Midge
- Walt’s Worm
- San Juan Worm
Hopefully, this article enables you to narrow down the number of nymphs on your list for your upcoming fishing trips. Have these patterns on hand, look for the right kind of water in which to fish them, and we wish you the best of luck in developing all of your skills in trout fishing.
Born in Lakeland, Florida, Daniel has started fishing since he was just a tiny little kid. His father was a real good fisherman, as he taught Daniel tricks and tips to catch the fish better. From those childhood memories, Daniel has built up his love for fishing. Until now, he has been participating in several bass tournaments and currently serves as the Chief Editor of fishingonsunday.com to share his precious knowledge and experiences with many more people.