How To Tie A Prince Nymph? A Step-by-Step Guide

The prince nymph is a fly fishing method that works well in the spring and fall. Its success is due to its enticing profile and skillfully chosen materials. And tying this fly is considered an act of art. So, how do you tie a prince nymph?

Tying a Prince Nymph is a fun and rewarding process. To start, secure a hook and add wire for weight. Use black thread to wrap the body and attach a tail made of brown goose biot.

Add gold tinsel for a touch of flash and tie in peacock herl for the body. Create a collar using a soft hackle feather and arrange the fibers. Attach white goose biot wings that sweep out to the sides. Clean up the head, and you’re done!

Grab your vise, thread your bobbin, and let’s dive deeper into these fly-tying steps. As a bonus, you will get tips for making it better fly, along with techniques to follow while fishing. Get ready to unleash the magic of the Prince Nymph and enhance your fly-fishing adventures like never before.

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What is a Prince Nymph?

The Prince Nymph! It’s a true staple in the world of fly fishing. Let’s dive into the fascinating world of this versatile pattern and uncover what makes it so special.

Origins and Legacy:

The Prince Nymph was born in the 1930s, thanks to the ingenuity of Doug Prince, a legendary figure in fly fishing. Its name pays homage to its creator and showcases the respect it has garnered over the years.

What Does A Prince Nymph Imitate?

The Prince Nymph is a masterful imitation of mayflies and stoneflies, which are essential food sources for trout. But depending on the situation of the fishing spot, you can use it for mimicking other insects as well.

Its design captures the essence of these insects, attracting fish with its realistic appearance.

What is a Prince Nymph | Honest Fishers

Profile and Materials:

One of the secrets to its success lies in its enticing profile. The combination of peacock herl, ribbing wire, hackle, and biots creates a visually appealing and fish-attracting fly. The use of these carefully selected materials contributes to its effectiveness in fooling trout.

Versatility and Effectiveness:

The Prince Nymph’s versatility is a key factor in its popularity. It can be fished in various water types, from rivers to streams, and works wonders in both still water and moving water environments.

Its effectiveness is undeniable, consistently enticing trout to strike and leading to successful fishing expeditions.

Overall, This Nymph fly pattern is not just any ordinary fly pattern. Its rich history, ability to mimic natural prey, and carefully crafted design make it an indispensable tool for fly anglers.

What Materials Do You Need to Tie the Prince Nymph Fly?

Some essential materials you’ll need to create this effective and versatile pattern. Let’s dive into the materials you’ll need to get started on your fly-tying adventure:


The Prince Nymph fly typically utilizes a Daiichi 1710 hook. This hook provides a sturdy foundation for the fly and ensures that it can withstand the test of time and the voracious appetites of hungry fish.

Lead Wire:

To add weight to the fly and help it sink, you’ll require some 0.15 lead wire. This wire is wrapped around the hook shank to create a substantial body for the fly.


Black Vives 12-watt thread is used to secure various components of the fly together. It acts as the binding agent, ensuring that the materials stay in place during your fishing expedition.

Tail Material:

The tail of the Prince Nymph fly is crafted using brown goose biot. These biots create a natural-looking tail that entices fish with its lifelike movement in the water. Tying them in individually allows for greater control and ease of placement.

Body Materials:

The body of the fly is formed using peacock herl. This iridescent material gives the fly an attractive and eye-catching appearance. Before wrapping the herl, make sure to trim away the fine tips for a cleaner finish.

By twisting the herl with hackle pliers, you can create a peacock rope effect, making the body look more even and full.


Adding a touch of flash and attractiveness, small gold tinsel is employed to create a spiral on the fly. With just a few wraps, the tinsel adds a subtle shimmer to entice curious fish.

Collar Material:

For the collar of the fly, a soft hackle feather or hidden india hen back feather is used. By stripping away some of the fluff at the base, the stem is exposed and can be tied in with the curve facing rearward on the fly.

The fibers of the feather will lay back nicely as they are wrapped, adding movement and lifelike characteristics to the fly.

Wing Material:

The wings of the Prince Nymph fly are made from white goose biot. These biots are tied in a curved manner, facing downward on the fly. It’s important to tie them in so they’re approximately the length of the body, and they can be angled to swoop out to each side of the fly aggressively.

This feature adds a realistic element to the fly, mimicking the appearance of a nymph in the water.

Once you have collected these materials then, you’ll be well-prepared to create your own Prince Nymph flies.

Remember, you can tie this pattern in various sizes, ranging from a size 8 to a size 18. The size chosen may depend on your target fish species and the conditions you’ll be fishing in.

Prince Nymph Fly: Step-by-Step Tying Instructions

Now you already gather all the materials, so let’s get started with the step-by-step instructions to tie this timeless and effective pattern:

Step 1: Prepare the Hook and Lead Wire

To begin, select a Daiichi 1710 hook, which provides a solid foundation for the fly. Attach the hook to your vise, ensuring it’s secure and ready for the tying process.

Now, take some 0.15 lead wire and wrap it around the hook shank. This will give the fly some weight, helping it sink into the water where the fish are lurking.

Step 2: Secure the Thread and Wrap the Body

Grab your black Vives 12-watt thread and attach it to the hook. Start wrapping the thread through the lead wire body a couple of times, firmly securing it in place.

Next, take the thread all the way back to the butt of the fly. This will serve as the starting point for the tail and other components of the fly.

Step 3: Tie in the Tail

For the tail of the Prince Nymph, you’ll need some brown goose biot. Take one biot at a time and tie them in individually, making it easier to control their placement.

Position the biots so that they curve away from the fly, giving it a natural and enticing appearance. The tail should be approximately half the length of the hook’s shank.

Prince Nymph Fly Step-by-Step Tying Instructions | Honest Fishers

Step 4: Add the Tinsel and Peacock Herl

Now it’s time to add some sparkle and attractiveness to the fly. Attach a small gold tinsel and wrap it forward, stopping about a hook-eye length away from the eye of the hook. This will create a shiny spiral effect on the fly.

Next, take four pieces of peacock herl, trim away the fine tips, and tie them in alongside the hook shank. These herl strands will form the body of the fly.

Step 5: Twist and Wrap the Peacock Herl

Twist the peacock herl with hackle pliers before wrapping it. This twisting action produces a peacock rope effect, giving in an even and complete body.

Begin wrapping the herl, twisting it a few times with each wrap to create a beautifully proportioned body. When you get to the fly’s head, catch the peacock rope with your thread and remove any extra.

Step 6: Spiral the Tinsel and Add the Collar

Spiral the gold tinsel forward, making approximately four or five wraps. This will add a touch of flash to the fly, enticing nearby fish. Now, it’s time to create the collar.

Strip away some of the fluff at the base of a soft hackle feather or hidden india hen back feather. Tie it in with the curve facing rearward on the fly. As you wrap the feather, use hackle pliers to aid in the wrapping process.

Be cautious not to overdo it—two or three turns should be sufficient. Capture the feather with your thread and trim the stem.

Step 7: Arrange the Fibers and Add the Wings

Gently pull back all the fibers of the collar, arranging them neatly. Take a white goose biot and tie it in, curving it down to form the wings.

The length of the wings should match the body of the fly, and you can angle them to swoop out to each side aggressively. Tying them in one at a time allows for better control and symmetry. Ensure you leave a few turns of space in front of the eye to avoid crowding it.

Step 8: Finalize and Finish

Clean up the head of the fly by wrapping a few turns of thread. Make sure the head is neat and tidy. To secure all the materials in place, perform a whip finish. Congratulations! You’ve successfully tied a traditional Prince Nymph fly.

The Prince Nymph is a timeless pattern that has proven its effectiveness over the years. It can be tied in various sizes, but for this demonstration, we’ve tied it to size 16.

Now, it’s time to take your fly to the water and put it to the test. Whether you’re targeting trout, bass, or other species, the Prince Nymph is a reliable choice.

What are Some Variations and Adaptations?

The Prince Nymph, with its tried and true design, has served as the foundation for several variations and adaptations that cater to specific fishing conditions and angler preferences.

Let’s dive into the exciting world of these modified Prince Nymph patterns and explore the possibilities they offer.

Beadhead Prince Nymph:

One popular adaptation of the Prince Nymph is the addition of a weighted beadhead. By incorporating a bead near the head of the fly, anglers can achieve a faster sink rate, making it ideal for deeper waters or fast-moving currents.

The added weight also enhances the fly’s attractiveness by creating a subtle jigging action, mimicking the natural movement of nymphs in the water.

Rubber Legs Prince Nymph:

For those seeking increased visibility and a touch of lifelike movement, the Rubber Legs Prince Nymph is a fantastic choice. By attaching rubber legs to the fly’s body, it gains extra appeal and imitates the legs of stoneflies or other aquatic insects.

The wiggling motion created by these rubber legs can entice even the most discerning trout, making this variation highly effective, especially in turbulent waters.

Flashback Prince Nymph:

Anglers frequently include a flashback element into the Prince Nymph to add a dash of flare and emulate the shimmering appearance of emerging nymphs.

A strip of reflective material, such as pearlescent tinsel or flashabou, is used around the thorax or wing case in this version.
The flashback effect can attract fish and trigger strikes, especially in clear or sunny circumstances.

Tungsten Bead Prince Nymph:

When it comes to targeting fish in deep pools or fast-flowing rivers, a Tungsten Bead Prince Nymph is an excellent choice. Tungsten, being denser than other materials used for beads, offers superior weight and enables the fly to sink quickly to the desired depth.

This variation ensures that your fly reaches the feeding zone promptly and remains in the strike zone for an extended period, increasing your chances of success.

Psycho Prince Nymph:

The Psycho Prince Nymph takes the traditional Prince Nymph pattern and cranks up the visual appeal. This adaptation incorporates additional hot spot colors, such as fluorescent green or pink, into the fly’s body, making it highly visible underwater.

The vibrant hues serve as triggers for aggressive strikes, especially in murky or stained water conditions where fish rely more on visual cues.

Soft Hackle Prince Nymph:

The Soft Hackle Prince Nymph adds a touch of lifelike movement and vulnerability to the pattern. By incorporating soft hackle fibers, such as partridge or hen feathers, around the thorax, the fly mimics the pulsating motion of an emerging insect or a struggling nymph.

The subtle undulations created by the soft hackle can entice fish and trigger strikes, making this variation highly effective in slower currents or during insect hatches.

When and Where to Use the Prince Nymph?

After learning a lot about this successful fly pattern, you should also know when and where to utilize prince nymph. Finding the right conditions and location can significantly boost your chances of success. You should consider the following locations and scenarios while choosing a prince nymph:

Moving Water:

The Prince Nymph shines in rivers and streams with a steady current. Its weighted design allows it to sink quickly, making it ideal for presenting to trout in faster-moving water. Cast the fly upstream and let it drift naturally with the current, mimicking the movement of nymphs that trout feed on.

Still Water:

While the Prince Nymph is primarily known for its success in moving water, it can also produce impressive results in lakes and ponds. Look for areas near drop-offs, weed beds, or submerged structures where trout tend to congregate.

When and Where to Use the Prince Nymph | Honest Fishers

Use a slow retrieve or a gentle twitching motion to imitate the movement of an emerging insect.

Spring and Early Summer:

During the spring and early summer months, many aquatic insects begin their life cycles. The Prince Nymph, with its suggestive profile, can imitate various nymphs, including mayflies and stoneflies, that are prevalent during this time.

Trout are actively feeding on these nymphs, making it an excellent choice to entice strikes.

Fall and Winter:

As the temperatures drop and insect activity slows down, trout become more opportunistic feeders. The Prince Nymph’s flashy appearance and lifelike movement make it an attractive meal option for trout in colder months.

Fish it deep and slow, close to the bottom, where trout seek refuge and conserve energy.

Tips for Fishing with a Prince Nymph

Now that you know when and where to use the Prince Nymph, let’s explore some tips to maximize your success while fishing with this versatile fly pattern:

Vary Your Retrieve:

Experiment with different retrieve techniques to find what triggers strikes. Sometimes a slow, steady retrieve works best, while other times, a more erratic retrieve or intermittent pauses can entice aggressive strikes. Pay attention to the trout’s behavior and adapt your retrieve accordingly.

Utilize Weighted and Unweighted Versions:

Depending on the depth of the water you’re fishing, consider using both weighted and unweighted Prince Nymphs. The weighted version is ideal for deeper pools and fast currents, while the unweighted version can be used in shallower water or when trout are feeding near the surface.

Focus on Presentation:

Proper presentation is key to fooling trout with a Prince Nymph. Make sure your fly drifts naturally with the current, mimicking the behavior of real nymphs. Mend your line to eliminate drag and achieve a drag-free drift. Be observant and adjust your presentation based on the trout’s response.

Match the Hatch:

While the Prince Nymph is a generalist pattern that imitates various nymphs, it’s essential to observe the insect activity on the water. If you notice a particular species of nymph being abundant, try tying or selecting a Prince Nymph that closely matches the size and color of the naturals.

Use the Prince Nymph as an Attractor:

The Prince Nymph’s flashy appearance and attractor qualities make it a reliable choice even when there is no specific hatch occurring. It can serve as a search pattern to locate trout or elicit strikes from opportunistic feeders.

Don’t hesitate to experiment with different sizes and variations to find what works best.

Be mindful that success in fly fishing often comes down to experimentation, observation, and adapting to the conditions. The Prince Nymph’s versatility and effectiveness make it a must-have pattern in any fly angler’s arsenal.


Mastering the art of tying and fishing with the Prince Nymph opens up a world of possibilities for fly anglers. Its versatility, lifelike appearance, and proven track record make it a go-to pattern in various fishing scenarios.

So, equip yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge, and let the Prince Nymph work its magic on the water. For more fly fishing tips, techniques, and updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.