Tying Tips and Patterns for Euro Nymphing - Part II

Posted on 19 March 2020

My Confidence Patterns:

Here are a few patterns that I will fish with confidence anywhere that trout live. From the east coast to the rockies, these flies have brought me success in all seasons and under a variety of conditions. You should try and develop your own lineup of flies that you consider your go to patterns if you don't have some already. I would fish these patterns along with a few others regardless of what fishing reports and guide books might suggest. That's not to say you shouldn't factor in some local knowledge and have other options, but having patterns you know will work anywhere goes a long way in your overall success. 

Classic Style Frenchie:

The Frenchie is a modern, simplistic spin of the legendary pheasant tail nymph. It is relatively quick to tie because it eliminates some of the more time consuming steps of the classic pheasant tail such as the wing case and legs. If you look into any angler’s fly box today, you will likely see Frenchies. Not only that, you will see countless variations of Frenchies. I tie them in every nymph size down to about a 20. You can also add variance by having countless color options for dubbing, thread, beads, ribbing and even the pheasant tail itself . Most will have a bright  hot spot of some sort, using dubbing or thread, but they can also be natural. They can imitate everything from the largest stoneflies to the smallest mayflies. This is an every day of the year sort of pattern that everybody should have in their box. Below is my favorite version that resembles the classic pheasant tail by using peacock herl instead of dubbing, but with an added hot spot.

Hook: Umpqua 450 BL 10-16. Could use 18-20 in other nymph hook styles

Thread: Fluorescent color of choice. I like orange and pink. 70-140 Denier

Tail: PT Fibers

Body: PT Fibers

Rib: Gold/Silver Wire

Thorax: Peacock Herl Natural

Bead: Slotted Tungsten Bead. Gold/Silver in various sizes. 

Walt’s Worm: 

First tied by Walt Young  to imitate a cranefly larva, the Walt’s Worm is not a worm at all. In fact, the Walt’s worm is one of the best patterns in existence that imitates just about every single bug in the water. It can imitate a caddis, mayfly, scud, cress bug, and anything else that looks like food to a fish. At the same time, it also doesn’t look exactly like any of these bugs, which is partially why it works so well. If I could only fish one nymph for the rest of my life, this would be one of my top considerations. It simply works everywhere, and during all seasons. It can be tied in a number of ways and everybody will have their own personal spin to it. Experiment with dubbing options and ribbing. Also, I should mention that this is pound for pound one of the easiest nymph patterns to tie. Below is my go to version. 

Hook: Umpqua 450 BL 10-16

Thread: Fluorescent color of choice. I like orange and pink. 70 or 140 Denier

Tail: None

Body:SLF Spikey Squirrel Dubbing in Natural Fox

Rib: Silver Wire or Pearl Tinsel

Thorax: None

Bead: Slotted Tungsten Bead Silver  

Natural Walt’s Worm: 

This version of the Walt’s Worm is my go to pattern if I believe flash and bright colors might not work well on a given day. I use a drab beads and thread, and rib with 6x tippet or a dark wire. There are days that this fly is killer, and days that the flashier options will be a better choice. I find that in very pressured water, this fly can be particularly effective. 

Hook: Umpqua 450 BL 10-16

Thread: Brown, Tan or Olive 70 or 140 Denier 

Tail: None

Body: SLF Spikey Squirrel Dubbing in Natural Fox

Rib: Dark Wire or 6x Mono

Thorax: None

Bead: Slotted Tungsten Bead Mottled Brown

Mayer’s Mini Leech Jig: 

This pattern by Colorado guide and writer Landon Mayer has become one of my favorite crossover patterns. It’s not just a nymph, and also not just a streamer. I’ve put this pattern through its paces this winter on PA water including the Yellow Breeches, Big Spring, Letort Spring Run, Spring Creek and Penns Creek. In every outing that I used this fly, I experienced a great deal of success. This is another extremely easy pattern to tie. I would experiment with any color of micro pine squirrel zonkers you can get your hands on, but my preference and confidence is in light olive. The beauty of this pattern is that it can be fished in so many different ways. It can be dead drifted, twitched, jigged aggressively, swung or stripped. My best success comes with a dead drift while adding sporadic twitches and jigs. This is another pattern that imitates more than just it’s namesake. 

Hook: Umpqua 450 BL 12

Thread: Black or Olive. 140 Denier 

Tail: Micro Pine Squirrel: Light Olive or Black

Body: Optional Holographic Tinsel Red, Olive or Pearl

Rib: None

Thorax: Ostrich Herl or Dubbing that matches the color

Bead: Slotted Tungsten Bead Black Nickel 3.8 mm

Frank’s Biot Body Baetis: 

This is one of those patterns that you think you “invented” for a minute, and after you look at the pattern and use a quick google search, you realize you’ve come up with something that many others have also thought of. That being said, I’ll tack my name on this version for fun. This is a great pattern that imitates not just a baetis (blue winged olive) nymph, but any other smaller mayfly. I tie it in a 16, which is a touch bigger than many of the BWO’s you'll see in my area. That being said, if you keep this fly thin, it is still a good imitation. I use a CDL tail for this reason, and use only the minimum thread needed to pin the bead into place. The turkey biots give a great segmented look, and also give the impression of the tiny gills these nymphs have.

HookUmpqua 450 BL 16

Thread: Olive 70 Denier

TailCoq De Leon Medium Speckled

BodyTurkey Biot Olive

Rib: None

Thorax: SLF Spikey Squirrel Dubbing Brown

BeadSlotted Tungsten Bead Silver 2.8 mm

Frank’s V Rib Mayfly: 

Many regular visitors to our Boiling Springs shop know how much I like Vinyl D-Rib as a body material for nymphs. Most simply call it D-Rib because it has a “D” shape with one side flat and the other side curved. We also call it V-Rib because it is a vinyl based material. Either way, it is easy to use and very effective. The most important thing is to get the sizing down. For hook size 10 or larger, use medium or “MED”. For hook size 12-14, use nymph or “NYM”. For hook size 16 and smaller, use midge or “MDG”. I find that this material’s transparency and segmented look make it deadly for all types of nymphs. One thing to keep in mind is that no matter which color V-Rib you use, the thread beneath will impact its overall color. The pattern below is my go to choice when larger mayflies are active. It is inspired by the France Fly, not to be confused with a Frenchie. I simply went a lot bigger and replaced a few materials. This is a Penns Creek killer, especially when the larger mayflies like March Browns, Green Drakes and Slate Drakes are active. Don’t be afraid to try this pattern in other places, as it simply looks buggy and can be effective most of the year.

Hook: Umpqua 450 BL 12

Thread: Golden Olive or Brown Olive.

Tail: Black Pheasant Tail Fibers

Body:Vinyl D-Rib Nymph Olive

Rib: None

Thorax: SLF Spikey Squirrel Brown or Dark Brown

Bead: Slotted Tungsten Bead Gold 3.3 mm


Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment or send me an email with any thoughts or questions.


Frank Landis

TCO Boiling Springs


IG: frankflyfishes


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  • Al Moschetti: March 20, 2020

    Nice post Frank, and thanks for sharing the flies, they all look great and tasty to a trout. Im just getting into the Euro phase which I played with a little last year but I think im going to stick with it this year. Thanks for the post on the leaders as well. I have a 10ft 4wt and think I will start with a level but section for now and keep around 15 ft for the total length. Whats your thoughts. Thanks again.

  • Tom B: March 19, 2020

    Do you use any beads other than tungsten on these flies? Do you use any lead/non-lead wire in the underbody?

  • Tom B: March 19, 2020

    Do you use any beads other than tungsten on these flies? Do you use lead/non-lead wire in the underbody?

  • John morgan: March 19, 2020

    Great post on probably the best go to euro nymphs. Nice variations on my all time favorites. I’ll be tying some of these. Especially like the mini zonker tied loose on a shorter hook. Can’t wait for the next post

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