Today there are many beadhead nymphs to choose from and sometimes it can seem overwhelming. However, in my opinion there is one old pattern that gets overlooked more than its fare share - the Fox Squirrel Nymph. This is one of my all time favorite nymphs. Works well all year, but have had particular luck with it around caddis time - cased caddis?
Hook: 2x long nymph hook
Bead:Gold looks the best (in my opinion)
Weight:Lead or lead free wire
Tail:Red Fox Squirrel (skin)
Body:Whitlock’s SLF Fox Squirrel Abdomen
Rib:Lagartan Oval Tinsel
Legs: Hungarian Partridge
Thorax:Whitlock’s SLF Fox Squirrel Thorax
Start out with some wraps of lead behind the bead. I like to start my thread right behind the lead and then secure the lead. This way the lead doesn’t move while you’re wrapping over it. Then lay a base of thread where the tail is going to be secured.
Time to add the tail. The tail is comprised of the stiffer guard hairs from a Red Fox Squirrel skin. The best place to find these guard hairs is along the back and on top of the hips of the squirrel. The hairs in these places with have a more ‘peppery’ look. Select a clump and tease out the soft under fur and longer guards hairs leaving the shorter ones. Tie in the tail to the desired length, shorter tails tend to look best on this fly. Now secure in some Lagartun Oval Tinsel.
Add a dubbed body of the Whitlock’s SLF Blend Dubbing, in the Fox Squirrel Abdomen color. You shouldn’t need a lot. I personally like slenderer bodies than those you seen around. Now wind the tinsel forward in even wraps, and then tie it off.
Select a Hungarian Partridge feather from the upper leading edge of the wing. Feathers from this area are lighter in color and softer adding good action in the water. One wrap of hackle should be sufficient, you don’t want to over-dress the fly. Finally a tiny bit of Whitlock’s SLF dubbing in Fox Squirrel Thorax color, right behind the bead and a whip finish to finish thing up.
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