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The Pheasant Tail Nymph
HOOK: 2x long, sizes 10 to 18
TAIL: Ringneck Pheasant Tail Fibers
RIB: Gold Wire
BODY: Ringneck Pheasant Tail Fibers
WINGCASE AND LEGS: Ringneck Pheasant Tail Fibers. Leftover wingcase tips are tied down divided style.
Research reveals that English tyer Frank Sawyer is credited with tying the original Pheasant Tail Nymph, but this particular version is from master Montana angler and tyer, Al Troth. Variations include a weighted body, depending on the fishing situation. Other versions include using silver wire instead of gold, or using died Ringneck Pheasant Tail Fibers. A local variation includes the use of a red yarn or floss, as a tag end.
FISHING THE PHEASANT TAIL NYMPH:
There is very little doubt that this fly is perhaps the best representation of the "Ephermerella" mayfly nymph, which is common to most parts of the world and British Columbia. This fly pattern has probably accounted for more trout being caught globally, than any other nymph pattern. As far as fly patterns go generally, this is probably one of the best ever designed. It makes use of two materials that are common in most trout flies, peacock and pheasant tail fibers. The common use of peacock and pheasant tail in so many trout fly patterns, is not by accident. Pheasant tail and peacock fool fish perhaps better than any other material. Combining the two materials into a lifelike imitation of a mayfly nymph, is certainly a predetermination of success.
The Pheasant Tail Nymph is a very adaptive fly, and can be deadly for trout in streams, rivers or lakes. When fishing the pheasant tail nymph in rivers and streams, many anglers prefer a weighted fly in combination with a sink-tip or floating line. Presentation often requires that the fly be cast generally at an upstream angle, and mended to create drag free drift. The fly is an exceptional fly to use during mayfly hatches, or when nothing seems to be happening at all.
In lakes, the fly is often fished to match chironomid or mayfly hatches. The fly can be fished with either a floating line with a weighted fly or splitshot added, a sink tip line, or an intermediate full sink line. The fly is presented to the fish at the appropriate depth, and retrieve very, very slowly to mimic the movements of an emerging chironomid or mayfly. Often a slow hand twist or weave will do the trick.