Pheasant Tail Nymph Fly

Pheasant Tail Nymph

Timeless pattern, imitates mayfly/stonefly nymphs, slender body, versatile.

How the Pheasant Tail Nymph is tied

The Pheasant Tail Nymph is tied on a standard nymph or curved nymph hook, usually ranging from size 10 to 22. The tail, abdomen, and wing case are made from pheasant tail fibers, which are wrapped around the hook shank. A rib of fine wire or thread is wound over the abdomen to add segmentation and durability. The thorax is created using peacock herl, providing contrast and a hint of iridescence. Optionally, a bead head can be added for extra weight and flash.

The flashback Pheasant Tail Nymph

The Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymph introduces a subtle, yet effective modification to the traditional Pheasant Tail Nymph. This variant incorporates a strip of reflective material, typically pearl tinsel or mylar, over the top of the thorax and under the wing case. You can see this in the pictures below. The added flash can often be the difference between a refusal and a take, especially in clear water conditions or when fish are being particularly selective.

The "flashback" element of this fly is intended to mimic the shiny gas bubble that forms on nymphs as they prepare to emerge and transition into their adult form. This mimicry can make the Flashback Pheasant Tail particularly effective during a hatch, when fish are actively feeding on emerging insects.

Tying the Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymph follows the same general pattern as the standard Pheasant Tail Nymph. The tail, abdomen, thorax, and wing case are constructed in the same way, with pheasant tail fibers, peacock herl, and optional bead head. The significant difference is the addition of the flashback material. This is typically tied in after the abdomen has been formed and before the thorax is created, effectively sandwiched between the thorax and the wing case.

What the Pheasant Tail Nymph mimics

The Pheasant Tail Nymph imitates various aquatic insects in their nymph or larval stage, primarily mayflies, but also caddisflies and midges. Its slender profile, natural coloration, and subtle movement make it an effective representation of these insects. The Pheasant Tail Nymph can be tied in various sizes and colors to match the specific nymphs found in different fishing environments.

Where the Pheasant Tail Nymph is used

In all freshwater environments: it's effective from streams to lakes. Can be fished as a typical nymph (Euronymphing) or under an indicator. If you're fishing clear water, don't forget sight fishing! Seeing an unweighted Pheasant Tail Nymph slowly go down in a stream, and then a trout slowly moving towards it to check it out is an incredibly exciting moment.

While it's most popular for trout fishing, like many patterns that mimic nymphs it can be used to target almost any (non predatory) freshwater species.

Fly tying video for the Pheasant Tail Nymph

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Fish you can can fly fish for with the Pheasant Tail Nymph



Brook trout

Brown Trout


Common Carp

Cutthroat Trout

Golden Trout



Marble Trout

Rainbow Trout





Insect orders relevant to the Pheasant Tail Nymph

These are insect orders of which one or more species are mimicked by the Pheasant Tail Nymph.





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