What are the best nymphs for early-season trout? It’s hard to say. “Best,” after all, is not an absolute like the firmness of the earth or the sun rising in the east. But if you asked me make a choice, I’d tell you you could do a lot worse than these three proven nymph patterns — and the trout would agree.
Soft-Hackled Bead Head Pheasant Tail. Size it up, size it down, the pheasant tail remains a classic because it looks like so many things that trout like to eat. I love this version for its buggy peacock herl thorax and so-many-quivering-sexy-legs of a soft hackle. For recipe and tying video, click here.
Frenchie Nymph Variant. The same fly as above — but different! We’ve traded the wiggly legs for a flashy hot spot. The result is a slimmer profile with different bite triggers that keeps this a high-confidence early-season nymph. What makes it variant? Unlike Lance Egan’s original, this has a brass bead, not tungsten, and it’s tied on a scud hook. (Since I don’t Euro-nymph, I rarely use tungsten beads in my nymphs.) For recipe and tying video, click here.
Rainbow Warrior Variant. Another Lance Egan creation, this version uses a brass bead instead of tungsten (see Frenchie, above) and omits the mylar wing case. The Rainbow Warrior takes the flashy attractor nymph to a whole new level. Good stuff!
All good choices along with Leisenring’s. I will say I am partial to Pheasant Tails of any style!
They don’t suck, that’s for sure. This afternoon I landed a trout that could be measured in pounds, not inches, on the Frenchie variant. 🙂
Hi Steve. What was that red head lamp that you were talking about? I was trying to find your post that you mentioned it? Thanks. Joe verlicco
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Joe, you should always use a red headlamp at night if you want to retain your night vision capabilities and not spook fish/piss off other anglers. Many, many modern headlamps come with a red lamp feature. Hope that helps!