Tying the Flymph Step-by-Step

Tying the Flymph Step-by-Step:


No doubt a few of you clicked this link while asking yourself “What is a Flymph?” 

Well, you’re not alone as I asked myself the same question a few years ago when first introduced to the term.  Admittedly, not curious enough to delve too deeply, I deemed it “some variety of wet fly” at first glance and quickly moved on.  With no coldwater trips on the docket at that time, I simply jotted the term down in my notebook.  And, like so many other notes, it was quickly buried as new projects and ideas filled my pages.

Fast forward to this past spring, and a fellow tyer from New Orleans reintroduced me to the term.  Intrigued by a discussion of the night hatching mayflies that emerge en masse behind my home, he offered to send me a series of Flymphs that he thought might match the hatch.   While those particular Flymphs failed in that regard, they did spur my interest in the pattern once again.

Delving into my stack of underutilized Fly Tying texts, I quickly found reference to the Flymph.  While not far off the mark with my earlier “some variety of wet fly” comment, I quickly learned the Flymph was something more.  A variety of wingless wet, the term Flymph is credited to Pete Hidy.  Co-author of The Art of Tying the Wet Fly and Fishing the Flymph, Hidy defined the Flymph as an insect that is not yet a fly, but no longer a nymph.  In essence, an emerger.

Consisting of silk bodies overlaid with a sparse dubbing loop (more on this below) and palmered hen hackle, the flymph has come to define a style of fly more than a specific pattern.  Tied in a generic brown below, this pattern can be tailored to whatever variety of mayfly or caddis may be hatching on your local stream.

Wet Fly or Nymph Hook (#8-16) Silk Thread or 70 Denier (Brown) Materials Hare’s Ear Blend (in a dubbing loop)
Materials Brown Hen Hackle Fibers Brown Hen Hackle

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Tying the Flymph Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge or rotate phone to landscape)

Tips and Tricks

  1. Flymph Bodies – As traditionally tied, the dubbing loops utilized to Flymph bodies are produced separately from the fly. Utilizing a tool called a Clark’s Block, these loops are mass produced and stored on index cards prior to tying the actual fly.
  2. Substitutions – As noted in the intro, the sparse dubbing loop is applied over a silk body. Silk, however, is not as widely used by tyers as it once was. In its place, consider utilizing similarly colored 70 denier thread. I’m fairly confident the fish can’t tell the difference.
  3. Keep It Sparse- A key feature of the flymph is the semi-transparent nature of the body. While the dubbing loop should be sufficient to provide a “buggy” look to the abdomen, it should be applied sparse enough to allow the color of the underlying silk (or thread) to show through when submerged.

Proof of Concept

To date, I’ve yet to prove the Flymph on any coldwater stream.  I have, however, proven its worth time and again on local panfish.  Stripped slowly beneath the surface in stillwater (or swung in moving), the fly has just the type of buggy appearance to trigger a response from these smaller warmwater species. 

Tight Line!


Tying the Flymph Step-by-Step
Species Caught on the Flymph to Date:
  1. Bluegill

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2 thoughts on “Tying the Flymph Step-by-Step

  1. The flymph looks like a winner for trout and I plan on tying some up to try out on our KFF March Brown Trip to the Lil Mo. Thanks and hope to see you there.

    1. I think it would be a great pattern for the Lil Mo. Bill M. and I were actually discussing the prospect of the Flymph being a KFF Tying Night pattern one of these months.

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