Pheasant Tail Nymph

Printable Version


Frank Sawyer, a river keeper in England, is generally given credit for the Pheasant Tail Nymph.  The original version was made entirely of pheasant tail fibers and wire.  The use of peacock herl in the thorax section varies from the original recipe.


Hook: Tiemco 200R, size 16, 18 and 20 Pheasant Tail
Thread:Brown or Camel, 8/0
Tail:Pheasant tail fibers, about 4-6
Rib:Copper or gold wire
Body:Pheasant tail fibers, body is 2/3 of the hook shank length
Wing case:8-10 pheasant tail fibers
Legs:Equal number of fibers from the wing case are folded back and secured
Thorax:Two peacock herl (optional: wrapped over layer of copper wire or thread).

Tying Instructions

  • Attach thread with a jamb knot
  • Tie in tail about 3/4 the shank length.
  • Tie in ribbing at the bend.
  • Clip off tip and tie in fibers for the body at the bend.
  • Wrap body up 2/3 of hook shank.  First wrap or two behind the wire. Tie off and trim.
  • Wrap ribbing forward (counter wrap to secure the fibers), tie off and trim.
  • Tie in wing case fibers.
  • Tie in the peacock herl and wrap the thorax, tie down.
  • Pull the wing case over the thorax and tie down.
  • Split the thorax fibers evenly, pull them back and tie them in for legs.
  • Whip finish.  Cement head if desired.

Visual tying instruction for a variation of the Pheasant Tail Nymph....Video


The Pheasant Tail Nymph can be tie in various colors including olive and black.  Mylar can be substituted for the pheasant tail on the wing pad.

Fishing Techniques

The Pheasant Tail Nymph is usually fished using the shot and indicator technique.  However, it can also be fished as an emerger in the surface film using the wet fly swing.