How to Tie Fishing Flies for River Trout – Wild Unlimited

Introduction to Tying Fishing Flies for River Trout

Tying your own fishing flies for river trout can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Not only does it allow you to customize your flies to match the specific conditions of your local rivers, but it also gives you a deeper appreciation for the art and science of fly fishing. In this article, we'll cover the basics of tying fishing flies for river trout, including the materials you'll need, the most common patterns, and step-by-step instructions for creating your own flies.

Essential Materials for Tying Fishing Flies

Before you begin tying your own flies, you'll need to gather the necessary materials. These include:

  • Hooks (sizes 8-18, depending on the pattern)
  • Thread (usually 6/0 or 8/0)
  • Hackle feathers
  • Dubbing (synthetic or natural)
  • Tinsel or wire
  • Beads (brass or tungsten)
  • Marabou feathers
  • Flashabou
  • Foam (for dry flies)
  • Scissors
  • Bodkin or dubbing needle
  • Hair stacker
  • Whip finisher

Common Fly Patterns for River Trout

There are countless fly patterns designed for catching river trout, but some of the most popular include:

  1. Pheasant Tail Nymph
  2. Hare's Ear Nymph
  3. Copper John
  4. Woolly Bugger
  5. Elk Hair Caddis
  6. Parachute Adams
  7. Stimulator
  8. Muddler Minnow

Step-by-Step Guide to Tying a Pheasant Tail Nymph

As an example, let's walk through the steps for tying a Pheasant Tail Nymph, one of the most effective patterns for river trout:

  1. Secure a hook in your vise and start your thread at the eye, wrapping back to the bend.
  2. Tie in a piece of copper wire at the bend, then wrap your thread forward to the eye.
  3. Select 4-6 pheasant tail fibers and tie them in at the eye, with the tips extending about a hook length beyond the bend.
  4. Wrap the pheasant tail fibers around the hook to form the body, then secure with thread and trim the excess.
  5. Wrap the copper wire forward in evenly spaced turns to form the ribbing, then secure and trim.
  6. Dub a small amount of hare's ear dubbing onto your thread and wrap it around the thorax area, just behind the eye.
  7. Form a small thread head, whip finish, and apply a drop of head cement to secure the fly.


Tying your own fishing flies for river trout can seem intimidating at first, but with practice and patience, you'll soon be creating effective and beautiful flies that will help you catch more fish. By experimenting with different patterns and materials, you can develop a collection of flies tailored to your local rivers and the preferences of the trout that inhabit them.