Last month I introduced the segment “What’s in the Box” and showcased the trailing patterns I’ll use to start the season. This month is dedicated to the nymph. While I’ve paired down my selection considerably from years past, I may need to rename the segment “boxes.” I’ve also managed to break out Czech nymphs to justify carrying one more box. This year I’m introducing more jig patterns into the repertoire along with additional CDC and hotspots flies. Gaps in blog posts is a sure indicator the trout season has opened here in MN and WI. So I’ve been able to prove some of these decisions out already. Here’s are the nymphs I’m starting with this year.
336ish Man Roster - These are the nymphs I'll start the season with
Kinni Stone Black & Gold 12
Kauffman's Stone Black, Brown, Golden 10
Rubber Leg Kauffman's Stone Black, Brown, Golden 10
Rubber Leg Stone Black, Variegated 8
HC Pearl 12-16
Rubber Leg Copper John 10,12
CDC Golden Stone 10, 12
Flashy Hare's Ear 12,14
Hot Wire Hare 12-16
Hare's Ear Jiggy 12-16
HC Scud 14,16
Iron Lotus 12-16
CDC Hotspot Prince 12-16
PT Nymph 12-16
Copper John 12-16
Glass Baetis 16,18
Vladi Variant 8
PT Jig 12-16
CDC PT Jig 12-16
Lightning Bug 14, 16
March Brown 12-16
PSV 12, 14
HC Worm 12
Starters - These are either blue chip prospects or top producers from last year
Flashy Hare’s Ear – I closed the season well with this pattern and it’s picked up right where it left off. Spoiler alert: I’m not packing a traditional hare’s ear to open the season, but I do carry several variations. This pattern is the cooler flashy version which consistently produces. This fishes well in sizes 12 & 14, but I usually start bigger and work my way down.
Trailer – I know, with a name like that should it be under trailing patterns? I decided to tie this in 12 , 14 and 16’s on a jig hook and fish it as the point fly as well. I’ve been tweaking it over the winter swapping out the peacock ice dub for olive ice, adding fire orange thread for the hotspot and coating the body with Sally Hansen’s to make it a bit more rugged. This has been fishing extremely well so far this season and after a few fish it loses its tail. Since the fish don’t seem to mind, the next variation may be tailless.
Kauffman's Stone – Here is one pattern I haven’t properly scaled down. While I primarily only carry one size (10) I do have them in three colors; golden, dark brown and black. I also pack a bead head/rubber leg version in the same plethora of colors. While there are a lot of good stonefly patterns this is my go-to over the years.
Free Agents– All good patterns, but they didn't make the cut
Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear – I know an all-time classic and any fly angler worth his/her salt should have fistfuls of these in the box. Truth is I always tied a bunch, but never fished them that often. No reason why, maybe just the non-conformist in me. As mentioned I’m not entirely opposed to the idea of a hare’s ear, I just like the variants better. Besides the flashy hares ear I also carry a hare’s ear jiggy and a hotwire hare.
Prince Nymph – See above…however, one of my favorite patterns right now is a Prince Nymph, the CDC Prince Nymph which easily could have made my starters list. One difference between it and the hare’s ear is I fished the prince often. Free agent may be too strong, this is more like a 6th man. I’m sure it will work its way into the rotation as the season progresses. I am particularly fond of lightly weighted size 16’s (talking myself into some playing time already).
Casual Frenchie - Last year I over did it on the Frenchie craze; Frenchie, Casual Frenchie, even a concoction I called a Business Casual Frenchie (all caught fish by the way). This year I’m going to stick to the original Frenchie in a couple sizes (14-18). I’m doing the same with my Pheasant Tail Nymphs. I had too many sizes, too many colors and too many weights.