Tying Great Winter Nymphs

By Charlie Warfield

I love fishing nymphs, especially in the winter when the fish are moving slow and waiting for a meal to present itself. The number 1 nymph for eastern streams is the stone fly because they have a long life cycle (some are 3-4 years) that is primarily in the water and they are active all year long. Stone flies come in all sorts of colors and sizes from smaller golden stone flies to large back ones. The stone fly attaches its self to rocks on the bottom and needs oxygen rich water to survive. So fast runs are prime habitat. They are not great swimmers but instead move around by crawling from rock to rock. Sometimes they can be dislodged by fast water or get carried downstream when they are crawling from place to place, and this is when the opportunistic trout grabs a healthy snack. The main distinguishing feature of a stone fly is its large long legs. For great long legs I like to use the Whiting 4B Hen hackle it is a great supple material with lots of movement in the water.


1: Here is a simple stone fly pattern that catches fish!

Hook Saber 7380 size 10
Body UV2 Dubbing Golden Stone/Chocolate Brown/Tan
Tail Black goose Biot
Hackle Whiting 4B hen cape

2: Another great fly to have ready when winter nymphing is the Black Zebra Midge.

Midges generally Midges emerge from the muddy bottom to live the aquatic portion of their life (pupa) in slow runs before emerging as adult flies. This is a simple fly to tie and most effective in sizes 16-24.

Hook Saber 7051
Brass Bead
Body black 8/0 thread
Ribbing gold brassie wire


3: And finally we will cover the May Flies with the Hot Spot PTN (Pheasant Tail Nymph).

This is a great fly year round and is an effective easy tie. This fly can be tied in a variety of colors from cream to black but brown/natural is the most common and a great color in general. Here is a link to a Pheasant Tail nymph tutorial https://youtu.be/Vq6I7PTFmpk

Hook Saber 7031 size 10-18
Bead 3/32-1/8 (also affective without bead)
Body Pheasant tail fiber
Brass Ribbing wire
Orange UV2 dubbing