Mike’s Everything Nymph

This single pattern has the best attributes of several fish-catching flies. The author calls that “fly synergy.

[by Mike Hogue]

I have bushwhacked into small trout streams for about as long as I’ve been trout fishing. I’m not even sure how I discovered many of these places; I mostly listen to other anglers, ask questions, and study maps. I often look at interactive satellite maps to discover new places I’ve never explored. If you asked me how to get back to some of them, I’m not sure I could tell you, but that’s part of the fun in discovering new spots to fish.

A 1/8-inch copper bead adds enough weight so the fly settles under the surface of the water.

When bushwhacking for trout, you need to pare down your gear. If you schlep around 20 boxes of flies and a big pack loaded with accessories, you will often end up getting your boxes wet or damaged, or you might lose some of them.

I had one friend who jammed his vest full of fly boxes, zingers, and more. I once told him that if he ever fell down, he would roll all the way from the Catskills to Pennsylvania without stopping. Long ago, I decided to reduce the amount of equipment I carried, and I never regretted the decision. My back, shoulders, and neck thanked me because I was no longer carting an oversized pack or vest.

Mike’s Everything Nymph

Hook: Mustad 9671 or Daiichi 1710, size 12 or 10.
Thread: Black or brown 6/0 (140 denier).
Bead: 1/8-inch copper bead.
Tail: Woodchuck guard hairs.
Body: Red fox squirrel dubbing.
Rib: Medium copper or copper-brown wire.
Hackle: Hungarian partridge.

Not hauling around excess stuff requires learning to make do with only a few items. I use a small shoulder bag that holds about four fly boxes, a few spools of tippet material, a couple of spare leaders, and a few necessary gadgets. I keep a large tote in my truck that contains big fly boxes and extra gear, but I no longer carry around so much stuff.

Most fly shops carry Hungarian partridge skins. These pelts are affordable and contain enough mottled feathers to tie dozens of fish-catching trout flies.

You can use this same philosophy when designing a fly. One pattern can sometimes do the job of many. It is possible to include the best attributes of three flies in one new pattern.

This approach will save time at the vise and room in your fly box, and more important, that new fly will catch fish; sometimes that single fly will catch more fish than those three older patterns combined. We can call this fly synergy.

One Fly That Does It All

I usually fish the Everything Nymph down- and across-stream. Cast this fly ahead of likely areas that might contain fish, such as rocks, logs, and braids in the current.

Let the fly drift downstream and lightly lift your rod tip, or give the line a small twitch or tug. The hackle will pulsate with life in the current. I often make a cast, let the fly drift into a lie, and then make a few short strips of line. I then let the fly drift back downstream and repeat. By doing this, I can work several areas without making a lot of noise or disturbances from casting. Your fly will spend more time in the water and you will spook fewer fish.

Tying Mike’s Everything Nymph

Mike Hogue has contributed many articles to this magazine. Mike owns Badger Creek Fly Tying, a fly tying–materials outfit in New York State. For more information or to purchase quality materials from a knowledgeable tier, go to his website, www.eflytyer.com