The Squirrel and Ginger Bead-Head Nymph

After catching a bajillion trout on my Squirrel and Ginger fur-hackled wet, I wondered how the fly might transition into a nymph. So last summer, I took to the bench and fiddled with the basic pattern a bit. Add some copper wire to the flash to re-enforce it. Make the wing just on the top of the fly, or make it a full collar. Use the working thread to create a hot spot, if that’s your pleasure. And top it off with a black tungsten bead. I’ve been catching on it ever since.


Hook: 2x short, 2x strong scud size 12-16
Thread: Uni Fire Orange 6/0
Body: Ginger Angora goat
Rib: Green Krystal Flash under extra small copper wire
Hackle: Red fox squirrel
Hot Spot: Working thread
Head: Black tungsten bead


Tying notes: I don’t use a dubbing loop on the body, but I do chop up the Angora goat with scissors before applying it to the thread with Loon Swax hi-tack wax. Likewise, no dubbing loop on the hackle. I tie the hackle in several different ways: as a full collar, pictured here, giving the nymph more of a weighted wet fly look; as a much sparser, shorter collar; and as a sparse wing. All of them work. I can’t tell you that you’ll catch more fish with the hot spot, but I can tell you that it certainly does no harm. Play around with different hot spot colors (fluoro red, chartreuse) to your heart’s content, and let us know what the fish think.


The Bead Head Squirrel and Ginger Nymph Rogues’ Gallery:

Farmington River, 9/4/14:

Big Rainbow 9-14

8 comments on “The Squirrel and Ginger Bead-Head Nymph

  1. Glenn says:

    Great big…. How do you tie in squirrel hackle? Never done that before HELP??? Thanks so much

  2. Steve Culton says:

    Hi Glenn,

    So, to tie a fur hackle collar like you see here, I start with a very small amount of fox squirrel fur. Just a pinch, as the old cookbooks might say. I grasp the tips of the fur, and pull out all the fuzzy underfur from near the butts of the hairs. That underfur will only bulk the fly up. Next, loosely position the fur around the head of the fly and make two taut wraps of thread to hold the fur in place. Remove your fingers and give the collar a look. Everything evenly spaced? Tie that sucker off and trim the butt ends near the head. Everything not so evenly spaced? Use your fingers to work and position the fur around the fly, then tie it off as above. Does that make sense?

    The keys here are: use less fur than you think you need. Don’t get crazy if its not perfect. Trout love ugly nymphs.

    • Glenn says:

      Perfect…. I am accustomed to just using regular hackle that I choose from a cape or, a soft hackle from a Hun partridge. This looks like a very cool way to do it. Thanks so much Steve. I will give it a whirl. BTW.., the nymph looks killer!!!



      • Steve Culton says:

        Great, glad to help. I’ve caught plenty of trout on that fly.

        You can also use a dubbing loop for a fur collar. If you look elsewhere on this site for the Squirrel and Ginger wet, you’ll see that style. Again, less is more.

      • Glenn says:

        Nice…. I usually just split the thread for dubbing vs. the loop…..just twist the thread, I don’t use the tool….

        Makes total sense to use a technique like that.

        Thanks again for your help… This is a very cool thread…… I’ll be back on checking in and out.

        I have some nice transitional nymphs I tie so maybe if I have time, will upload a few pics…

        Back on the river tomorrow…..!!! My day off!!!



  3. Henry "Hank Hollis says:

    I used to fish the Farmington River when I lived in Massachusetts.
    Henry “Hank” Hollis

  4. […] fly is a derivation from Steve Culton’s Squirrel & Ginger fly. A big hat tip to him. He fishes the famed Farmington and says that his fly is very effective with […]

  5. […] Squirrel and Ginger Beadhead. Sans bead, one of my favorite caddis emergers. Add a black brass bead and deepwater magic ensues. […]

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