Illawarra Flyfishers Club

Brown Nymph

Text and Photos by Andrew Susani and Andrew Wheeler

Hook #8 - #16 medium to long shank
Thread 6/0 black, brown or olive
Body Squirrel fur, seals fur or something similar
Tail 3 or 4 hackle fibres
Ribbing Gold or copper wire
Wing Case Black crow, turkey or black raffia

Nymphs exist everywhere trout do, so it comes as no surprise that they are a major food item for our speckled friends in all parts of the world. The brown nymph is a generic nymph imitation that represents nymphs from all families of aquatic insects. Tied in a variety of sizes and colours, this pattern is an invaluable fly for the trout fisherman.

Tying Procedure

1. Start thread just before bend of hook. Tie in 3 or 4 stiff hackle fibres so they extend 4-5 mm past the bend. Tie in a 6 cm length of fine copper wire at the bend – leave it hanging out the back. 

2. Pull a small amount of dubbing from the packet and spread it out along the hanging thread. Gently dub it onto the thread and wind up to about halfway along the shank, forming a slight taper.

3. Wind the copper wire evenly through the dubbing to suggest segmentation in the nymph’s abdomen. Tie off and trim waste. Tie in a 4 mm wide strip of your chosen wing case material so it points towards the tail of the fly. 

4. Dub on some more dubbing fur and make a plump thorax.

5. Pull the wing case over the top of the thorax and tie down just behind the hook eye. Build up a small head of thread, whip finish, then varnish head. 


Don’t use much dubbing fur when dubbing any fly – it is much easier to do a couple of thin layers rather than one big ugly thick layer.

Keep the tail on nymphs short to avoid getting short strikes from fish. It may seem unthinkable that a fish could come up short on a fly only a few centimetres long, but it does happen.

Some anglers believe that wing cases are very important features on a nymph fly as a prominent wing case indicates that a nymph is swimming up to the surface to hatch. If you make them dark or shiny, they will stand out more.

Tie at least 2 or 3 nymphs in different colours and sizes so you can be ready to match the size and colour of the local nymphs wherever you go.

You can make the body messy by teasing out the fibres with a needle or a piece of velcro (the hooked side). This can suggest legs and make the fly look more lifelike in the water.