Fly Proportions - Nymph Flies

News & Tips: Fly Proportions - Nymph Flies

FlyProportionsNymph blogLast week I broke down the specific proportions needed when tying wet flies. To further this discussion, this week’s blog will take a closer look at the special characteristics incorporated with nymph fly patterns.

The nymph is the aquatic stage of an invertebrate's lifecycle. This nymph/larval form for the insect is a very vulnerable time and fish learn to gorge themselves whenever the opportunity present. Nymph fly patterns range from big to small, very complex to extremely simple. They can be weighted or not depending on how anglers intend on fishing with these flies. Although it seems like there is a lot of variability among these patterns the basic body anatomy is the same and fly tiers should be familiar with the specific proportions to make their creations.

Anatomy of the Nymph

  • Tail — The tail for nymph patterns should be one third to half the length of the hook shank.
  • Abdomen (Lower Body) — The abdomen is two thirds of the hook shank length and should taper as you move down the hook shank towards the hook bend.  
  • Rib — Depending on the material used and the length of the hook shank the rib can vary anywhere from 3-8 wraps. A good point to remember is that ribbing should resemble the real life insect’s body sections as closely as possible.
  • Thorax (Torso) — The thorax should be one third of the hook shank length and be round/ bulky in appearance.
  • Legs — The legs for the nymph should be the same length as the thorax.
  • Head — The head should be 2-5 thread wraps wide (or as small as possible while still holding the thorax in place securely).