Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Pheasant Tail Nymph
The Pheasant Tail Nymph is trout fly designed by Mr. Frank Sawyer, who was the River
Keeper of Avon River in England in the early 1900's. It was designed to imitate the
blue-winged olive nymphs on the Avon. He used only two materials tying the fly, find copper
wire and pheasant tail fibers. The fly sinks quickly with the weight of the wire and its fibers
appears to trout as legs and tails. Today, the Pheasant Tail Nymph is used to imitate a
variety of aquatic insects.
The Pheasant Tail Nymph is a good fly to use for for rainbows, browns, cutthroat and brook
trout. It is often referred to as the PT Nymph. This fly is sold by just about every fly shop in
the World and is almost eighty years old. It has proven useful even for steelhead.
Al Troth, another famous fly tier, improved the Frank Sawyer nymph into the American
version of the Pheasant Tail Nymph. He added peacock hurl for the thorax. Our Perfect Fly
version of the Pheasant Tail Nymph uses the peacock herl.
There are many ways to fish this nymph. It can be fished on the bottom by adding weight to
the tippet a few inches above the fly. It can be fished under a strike indicator. It can be
greased up and fished as an emerging mayfly nymph. It can also be fished beneath a dry fly
as a dropper.
The Pheasant Tail Nymphs is a good generic trout fly to have along with you when you are
fishing streams where you are unsure about what kind of nymphs are most plentiful. Some
anglers consider it to be the American Express fly - don't leave home without it fly..
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