The prince nymph was first thought of and fished in the early thirties. A gentleman by the name of Doug Prince first designed the fly to imitate the ever-present stonefly nymph.
The fly was first called the brown forked tail nymph, but his name morphed into the prince nymph 15 years later. The addition of the bead, brass, and tungsten has increased the popularity of the prince nymph. The prince nymph is one of the goto nymphs for many anglers.
A few key features make a true prince nymph; the tail is made from goose biot tips. Select the biots from the smaller tip sections. The biots are thinner but hold better when being fished.
The white goose biots are used on the traditional nymph, but browns and tans work just as well when tying. The color selections and the use of peacock fibers make the fly very effective, and you should always be a few tied up in your fly box.
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How to Tie a Prince Nymph Fly Step-by-Step
- Place the bead on the hook.
- Secure the hook in the vice.
- Add the lead wire wraps.
- Tie in the tail.
- Tie in peacock herl and copper wire.
- Wrap forward and form body.
- Tie in the hackle and wrap forward to make the legs.
- Cut off top hackle flush with the hook top.
- Tie in wingcase.
- Tie off, trim and whip finish.
- Hook: Mouche 8426 #12-16 heavy nymph
- Bead: 2mm brass or tungsten
- Thread: Semerfli 30D nano silk, black
- Tail: Brown Goose biot
- Body, thorax: Body peacock herl
- Ribbing: Ultra wire, copper, or gold wire
- Wingcase: goose biot
- Legs: Brown hackle
Prince Nymph Fly Tying Guide
Slide your bead on the hook.
Lock your hook in the vise, making sure it is secure and not too close to the tip of the jaws, as the hook may slip when you apply tension to it. I advocate using barbless hooks where possible to ease the removal and minimize the damage done to the fish.
If you want to add more weight, you can make a few lead wire wraps around the shank after you have slipped the bead onto the hook ending the lead wraps behind the bead. Start with a solid level thread base to work with.
Run the tying thread up and down the shank creating a slight underbody taper from behind the bead back to the bend. This also secures the lead wire into position. This is a good habit to do in fly tying, ensuring the body has the correct taper.
Tie in the tail by splaying out two brown goose biot tips. Make use of the shorter tips near the end of the quill as they are softer and stronger. The goose biots wear better when the prince nymph is fished.
Secure the goose biots in position and tie them tightly. Run the thread up and down the shank to get that important taper and profile.
Run the thread back towards the biots and tie in the copper or gold wire for the ribbing. It is at this stage that you also tie in the peacock herl.
Wrap the peacock herl forward and up until behind the bead. Tie off and trim. Take your time to check that the body has an even taper upwards. This is an important step in fly tying, not just for the prince nymph. Once happy, wrap the copper wire opposite to the peacock herl, creating those very distinct segments.
Tie off the wire and add the hackle feather concave side facing away from you.
Wrap the hackle forward and make sure all no fibers are trapped. Tie it off and trim.
Cut the top hackle fibers flush with the hook top shank. Tying in the wingcase with the goose biot tips can be tricky, but it will be easy if the same method is used with the tail.
Once the biots ends are in position, securely wrap them in. Create a small collar behind the bead and whip finish off. Apply head cement and UV torch it.
How to fish the prince nymph
There are a few ways you can fish the prince nymph. It’s important to remember that this is an attractor nymph and will be used when fishing is slow. Attractor patterns are flies that don’t imitate anything specifically but rather attract the trout to eat.
A simple upstream dead drift works well and can yield good results, especially on the smaller rivers. One of the more popular methods is the wet fly or streamer swinging method. Across the run and allow it to drift down, then you twitch it back up.
Whichever method you choose, the take is usually aggressive and strong, so be ready.