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Chamois Nymph
By B. Moose Peterson

This is a fly that the locals swear by. It's from Fly Fishing Mammoth: A Fly Fisher's Guide to the Mammoth Lakes Area by Mark J. Heskett. It's a really easy fly to tie that has produced some fine fish. When the fly is wet, it's a good imitation of Rhyacophila. I have to agree with the book's author that fishing it with a floating line with strike indicator and split shot, bounced along the bottom is the most productive way of fishing this fly. Knowing that, I'm still surprised the times I get a fish as soon as the fly hits the water and it never has the opportunity to sink. The fly here was tied on a size #16.

Materials List:

    Hook: TMC 200R 14-18.

    Thread: Black 6/0.

    Weighted: .015, wrap length of shaft.

    Body: Chamois.

    Thorax: Black Ostrich.

    Beard Hackle: Black hackle, two wraps.

Instructions - Chamois Nymph:

1. Wrap your weight onto the shank. I start right above the point and wrap forward the required number of wraps to be 1/3 the shank length behind the eye. The number of wraps varies with the size of the hook.

2. Tie in your thread just in front of the weight and wrap back to only slightly secure the weight in place. Take your thread all the way back to the curve of the hook.

3. Tie in chamois. I personally use the synthetic chamois and not the real thing. I've found it creates and holds the look of ribbing better than natural chamois when wet (no gluing necessary either). Cut the chamois so it's no wider than 1/8 inch. As you tie on smaller hooks, you'll want to cut the strips of chamois even narrower. On the end of the chamois I'm going to tie in, I cut a point in the chamois to minimize the hump at the tie in point. Secure the chamois really well! You're going to be pulling on it so make it tight.

4. Advance the chamois up the shank. Pull tight with every wrap and layer the chamois so you create a ribbed appearance. Some use Krazy Glue while wrapping the chamois to attach the chamois to the weight. I've found this is not needed when using the man-made synthetic chamois and it's wrapped tight on the hook.

5. Advance the chamois to just past the end of the weight. I trim the chamois at this point so it's narrower than the 1/8" prior to tying it off. I tie it off using a number of wraps. I pull the wraps as snug as I can. I then trim the chamois the cleanest I can. This creates the small hump you see illustrated.

6. Tie in the black ostrich feather on top of the tie off of the chamois. Open up the fibers of the ostrich prior to wrapping it. Wrap it around to create as thick of a collar as you can. Move the ostrich forward to where it appears you won't have enough room to create a head.

7. Tie in the black hackle. It will seem like there is no room to tie it in, but there is. Wrap the black hackle only two full wraps. These wraps will be in the black ostrich and not directly on the hook shank. Tie off and create a head.

8. Finished fly

Photographic note:

Photos captured by Nikon D1H, 60f2.8AF Micro with SB-29s flash on Lexar digital film. ~ Moose

About Moose:

Moose is a professional wildlife photographer, and obviously a fine fly tyer, who lives in Mammoth Lakes, CA. He has an extensive website to furnish wildlife photographers with information to make the most of their photographic pursuits. You will find it at:

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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