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Markbob

Pheasant Tail Nymphs

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On my recent trip to CO and my first trout fly fishing trip, my guide selected size 18 Pheasant Tail Nymphs as our fly of choice for the day. I was able so see the little pmd nymphs in the water and it made sense. I have seen and read that a lot of people tie this fly up to a size 10 or even 8 and I am having a difficult time imagining where/when you would want this particular fly in sizes that large. Are there insects where you live that large nymphs like this are common or is there some other reason to use a "nymph" fly of this size?

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On my recent trip to CO and my first trout fly fishing trip, my guide selected size 18 Pheasant Tail Nymphs as our fly of choice for the day. I was able so see the little pmd nymphs in the water and it made sense. I have seen and read that a lot of people tie this fly up to a size 10 or even 8 and I am having a difficult time imagining where/when you would want this particular fly in sizes that large. Are there insects where you live that large nymphs like this are common or is there some other reason to use a "nymph" fly of this size?

 

The pheasant tail nymph is a general purpose nymph that could be used to imitate any mayfly. They can also be used to imitate stonefly nymphs and I have even seen people use long skinny ones for damselfly nymphs. Green Drake mayfly nymphs can easily be a size 10 or 8 and stonefly nymphs can be much larger than that. Personally I choose other patterns for nymphs that large. Most pheasant tail fibers are fairly short and don't have enough bulk on their own for bigger nymphs. Most of the Pheasant tail nymphs that I tie are size 14 and smaller.

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Okay, That makes more sense. I was thinking any thing larger than about a 14 in this particular pattern would be a bit...off. I did not know that those other insects had nymph stages that large but like you said, there are probably better patterns for those bugs. Thanks.

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FYI, the so-called 'salmon fly', perhaps the largest stonefly in North America, may have a nymph that is 2 inches long. This nymph is very readily imitated by using dark brown knitting yarn wound around the hook for a body, and with a grizzly webby hackle palmered through the thorax for the legs, a laJoe Brooks. Nothing fancy; but, effective.

 

perchjerker

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stoneflies come in various sizes (some of which will be too long to tie with pheasant tail fibers) but the early black stoneflies can be tied using black pheasant tail fibers in sizes 14-20

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good to hear they use 18 PHT nymphs in CO i'm tying a box for my dad who just moved to denver and so far its mostly 18 PHT nymphs in different varriations. This fly is a great all purpose fly tied in diiferent colors it can be tied to immitate most anything that crawls in the water.

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