Pheasant Tail Nymph, Gold Bead |
By Jason Akl
A few decades ago an Englishman named Frank Sawyer created the Pheasant Tail (PT) Nymph, one of the most effective fly patterns ever created. Of all the 600 different species of mayflies that reside in our rivers and lakes, most at one time or another are small, brown and live on or near the bottom. What could be better to imitating this vast family of insects then a fly pattern that looks as good as it works. The PT is representative of a wide variety of living creatures that trout feed on.
In rivers, the pheasant tail nymph resembles a wide variety of commonly seen mayflies but most often PMD’s and BWO. The most productive way to fish this fly is to fish it near the bottom on a dead drift. Simply cast the fly as you would a dry, (upstream and across) and allow the fly to sink to the bottom and drift downstream drag free.
In lakes, the PT is probably the best imitation of the Callibaetis nymph. This fly, when fished during the long hours between sun up and sun down can be very effective in getting finicky trout to bite. To fish this fly in lakes use an intermediate line and retrieve the fly slowly near the surface. If trout are not taking this presentation allowing the fly to sink and retrieving it using a slow hand twist retrieve should do the trick. Trout are known to frequent the shallows near weed beds or rocky outcrops so keying on these areas will help to get more and bigger fish to bite.