Flathead Mayfly Nymphs Rule

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Flathead Mayfly (Heptageniidae) Nymph. Photo By: Louis Cahill

If you take the time to to flip over enough rocks in moderate moving water you’re bound to find lots of Flathead Mayfly (Heptageniidae) clinger nymphs of various sizes.

These three and two tailed flat bodied nymphs, with robust legs and broad heads are very important for fly anglers. Quill Gordons, March Browns, Hendrickson, Light Cahill, Pink Quill and Gray Fox are some of the popular species that belong to the flathead family. To date, there’s been fly patterns created for over 45 different species in 10 different genera of the flathead family. Because there’s usually multiple species found in any given watershed, I typically find trout keep them on the food menu year round. The subsurface nymph patterns seem to produce nice trout for me even when fishing conditions are really tough. Oddly enough, I rarely find a good variety of patterns that imitate the nymph stage in my local fly shops. Below is a pattern I tie as a general all-around nymph imitation for the flathead “clinger” mayfly. It’s designed to mimic the bold features of the flathead, and it’s landed many big fish for me the past few seasons.

Klewein’s Flathead Nymph. Photo By: Louis Cahill

Klewein’s Flathead Nymph

Hook:  Size 16-12
Thread:  6/0 Brown
Bead:  Black or Olive 3/32″-1/8″ (I sometimes go beadless)
Thorax/Legs:  Brown Partridge Hackle
WingPad:  Thinskin – Natural
Abdomen:  Medium D-Ribbing -Brown
Tail:  Pheasant-tail Brown

Proof Trout Love Flathead Nymphs. Photo By: Louis Cahill

I stuck this giant on the first drift with my flathead nymph right after Louis had previously fished the spot with a different tandem nymph rig. It ended up being one the hot flies for the day. Tie up some of this pattern is varying sizes (16-12) in olive and brown and let me know how they work for you guys. It’s a quick tie and very durable.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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3 thoughts on “Flathead Mayfly Nymphs Rule

  1. Looks like a fish catching fly, I don’t see anything about what material you are using under the wing case. Obviously I could use a variety of dubbings, but I was curious what you use. Thanks,

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