Fly Tying Patterns: Pheasant Tail Nymph

Phesant Tail Nymph - Fly Tying Pattern
  • Hook: 2XL #10 - 20
  • Thread: Black or Brown 8/0
  • Tail: Cock Pheasant Centre Tail
  • Rib: Copper Wire
  • Abdomen: Cock Pheasant Centre Tail
  • Thorax: Cock Pheasant Centre Tail
  • Weight: Lead or Copper Wire (Optional)
  • Thorax Cover: Cock Pheasant Centre Tail

  • Tying Difficulty: Beginner
  • Tied by D. Howard
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The Pheasant Tail Nymph is certainly a pattern that should always be in your fly box. It can be tied either weighted or unweighted, and in a range of sizes. Frank Sawyer devised the pattern over 50 years ago to imitate several types of Olive nymph (Baetis).

There are numerous variants of this pattern, such as utilising holographic tinsel for the body, bead heads, different coloured pheasant fibre and with or without legs that originate from the underside of the head of the pattern. One variation that is reputed to be very effective is when tied with melanistic feather fibres.

Frank Sawyer's PTN uses copper wire under the thorax for weight, I prefer to utilise a few turns of lead wire for the weighted pattern and I use unweighted patterns when the fish are higher up in the water.