Muskrat Nymph Finished Fly

The Muskrat Nymph by Steve Yates

I was reading the bulletin board the other day and the topic was simple flies. I was completing some of the simple patterns that I tie. Polly Rosborough's Muskrat nymph was one of the first that came to mind. The Muskrat nymph doesn't really look like any particular nymph, but rather is representative of several. I know everyone, myself included is looking forward to the spring hatches and consistent dry fly fishing that it brings. Some nymphs, especially mayfly nymphs become very restless just before they hatch, moving up and down in the water column. Even when they begin to hatch, many insects never make it to the surface. They are intercepted by fish on the way to the surface, or they are cripples and drown. Often times a hatch will start out with the smaller fish making loud splashy rises, the larger fish will continue to eat the nymphs as they emerge, or take advantage of the cripples and drowned insects.

This time of year trout streams are full of nymphs that are close to maturity. In some cases they are just days or weeks away from the transformation from aquatic to air born insects. Nature always provides a variety of food at any given time adrift in a trout stream. Trout do not generally become selective until an abundance of a certain food item becomes available. During this time a generic nymph imitation may take trout feeding on several types of nymphs. This is where the generic types of nymphs that Polly features in his book, Tying and Fishing the Fuzzy Nymph come to mind. Polly didn't weight his Muskrat nymphs, he wanted the nymph to move freely in the water column. This is a good generic nymph imitation to fish as a dropper off of a dry. Many fish will prefer the dropper during our early season hatches. Polly called it fishing under the hatch, and I think it's a very good strategy this time of year as water temperatures remain cool and fish are still somewhat lethargic.

Hook: 3905B
Thread: 8/0 Grey Uni
Body: Muskrat natural grey
Thorax: Ostrich herl black

Muskrat Nymph Step 1 

Step 1- Start the thread just behind the hook eye and wrap back to a point just above the barb. I like wrapping 3 or 4 layers of thread on the hook for a dubbed body.

Muskrat Nymph Step 2 

Step 2- Cut some underfur and guard hair from a Muskrat hide and mix together. I like to leave in a few guard hairs to give the nymph a spiky appearance. Apply some wax to the thread and dub a slightly tapered body from back to front to about the 2/3 point on the hook.



Muskrat Nymph Step 3 



Step 3- Tie in a few soft hackle feather fibers on the underside ofthe hook for legs. I used partridge here. I like to tie in the fibers on the far side of the hook and roll them into place underneath the fly with thread pressure.


Muskrat Nymph Step 4 



Step 4- Tie in a piece or two of ostrich herl and wind forward to just behind the hook eye, tie off and whip finish.




Muskrat Nymph Step 5 

Step 5- Take a small brush or your bodkin and rough up the fly, Polly liked to use a hacksaw blade! Finished fly.

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