Thread Worm Fly Step-by-Step

Thread Worm Fly Step-by-Step:

Long before the majority of us ever picked up a fly rod, we learned to fish by baiting a snelled hook with a worm.  Suspended beneath a red & white bobber or held fast to the bottom by split shot, this combination inevitably produced fish.  In my formative years alone, I can recall catching trout, bass, sunfish, walleye, catfish and even An errant steelhead on the lowly earth worm.  And yet, or perhaps because of their effective simplicity, “worm” patterns seem largely frowned upon.   I am, myself, no doubt guilty of forgoing the oft-maligned San Juan worm even when conditions favored such a pattern.

Today’s tutorial is then presented with the intention of breaking that negative bias.  Extremely simple and effective, this thread worm is capable of not only mimicking small terrestrial annelids, but also the vast array of Chironomids and other aquatic “worms” abundant in freshwater ecosystems.

Daiichi 1870 “Swimming Larva” (#14) 70 Denier (Red)Materials Tungsten (Black Nickel; sized to hook)
Materials Holographic Flat Tinsel (Sm; Pearl or Black)Materials UV Resin

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Thread Worm Fly Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge)

Tips and Tricks

  1. Color – Terrestrial and aquatic worms come in a variety of colors. While the red pattern here is meant to mimic either a “blood worm” chironomid or “red wiggler” earth worm, don’t overlook brown, black, tan, pink, olive or white.
  2. Indicator Fishing – I really enjoy fishing this pattern below an indicator on a breezy day when targeting panfish. Simply suspend the fly at the desired depth below your indicator and cast in the upwind direction when fishing stillwater. Allow the indicator and fly to dead drift downwind and watch for any subtle pauses or strikes.

Proof of Concept

While it took only a few casts to prove out this pattern.  It remains without photographic evidence for the time being as I foolishly tossed the first bluegill back without taking any pictures.  Unfortunately, a gust of wind on the following cast, sent my leader into a nearby tree where the fly still remains.  Having only the one tied for this tutorial in my box, my fishing day ended with that popped tippet.

Tight Line!


Thread Worm Fly Step-by-Step
Species Caught on Thread Worm Fly to Date:
  1. Bluegill

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3 thoughts on “Thread Worm Fly Step-by-Step

  1. I suspect when I taught the fly fishing course in Rochester you and your dad attended I forgot mentioning the fly tying adage I live by. You always tie three: One to fish, one to lose, and one for your buddy.

    1. An excellent adage and one I should be living by.

      In this case, it was actually the last hook in the pack. I have a bad habit of often having every hook imaginable…except for the one I need. Such was the case again last night as I was finishing up a dozen Clouser’s Swimming Nymphs for a swap, but only had 11 of the desired hook.

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