Peninsula Fly Fishers

Tom's Hexagenia Nymph

by Tom Kilfoil

April 2005

Finished Hex Nymph

This fly is similar to a Hex nymph tied by an Almanor regular, either Milt Jensen or Dr. Del Heacock. I will find out this year and will correct this recipe to acknowledge the correct person. Their pattern is tied with the hook up instead of down as I have tied mine.

While the original used pheasant tail feathers for the tail, I use short fine deer body hair. I like the way the fine deer hair flairs so I use it on all my nymph patterns that have a hare's ear color. This short fine hair is found on the legs of the deer.

I've also use a yellow synthetic yarn instead of the original yellow chenille for the lower body, simply because I have so much of it. For the over-body marabou on the lower body I use a color as close to a light-brown gray as I could find. It is made by Hareline Dubbing and goes by the name Grizzly Marabou, Tan. I've also weighted my flies with medium lead wire (12 turns).

Hex nymphs are perfect to fish with during the early evening before the Hex hatch starts. Some fishermen only use nymphs during the hatch, but my first love is to fish for trout on the surface. Whenever you see me fishing out of a float tube during the hex hatch, you'll almost always find me with two rods. One set up with a floating line and a hex emerger. The other will be a sinking line with either my bead head Hare's Ear Nymph or, now, with this Hexagenia nymph.

Hook Mustad 75980, 4X long, Size 6
Bead head Large 5/32" gold bead
Lead wrap #3 Medium lead wire, 2-3", enough for 12 turns
Tail Short fine deer hair. Natural gray-brown color with light tips
Ribbing #34 gold beading wire, from Micheal's
Lower body Yellow yarn or medium yellow chenille
Over-body marabou Light tan grizzly trimmed as pictured
Wing case Brown turkey quill
Dubbed thorax Hare's Ear Plus, Hexagenia or Golden Stone color
Legs Wood-duck flank feather
Eyes Testor's Black enamel painted on bead-head

Tying Instructions

Start of hex nymph
  1. Put bead-head on hook. Sometimes you have to pinch the barb to get it through the hole.
  2. Wrap lead wire onto hook 12 turns and push into back of bead-head. Wrap thread at base of lead to hold it in place.
  3. Tie in a small clump of short fine deer body hair for tail. Hold it to top of hook as you wrap so it does not spin around hook.
  4. Anchor in a 5"-6" piece of ribbing wire.
yarn body wrap
  1. Tie in and wrap lower body with yellow yarn.
marabou feather
  1. Prepare grizzly marabou feather. Tie this feather down over the lower body with ribbing wire. Wrap excess wire over wrapped lead. Trim off marabou feather.
wrap marabou abdomen
Turkey quill thorax wing-case
  1. Tie in a 1/4" to 5/16" wide piece of turkey quill, dark brown portion.
Thorax dubbing
  1. Make a dubbing loop of thorax dubbing. Dub thorax.
Thorax dubbing two.
Form wing case.
  1. Fold over turkey quill for wing case, tie down and trim.
Prepare wood-duck feather
  1. Prepare wood-duck flank feather for legs.
Top view
Side view
  1. Tie in prepared feather for legs. Before trimming pull legs down into proper position. Now trim and whip finish fly.
Bottom view
  1. Used head cement on wraps and top of thorax case.
  2. Use tooth pick to dab on Tester black enamel paint for eyes on the bead-head to finish the fly.

That's all until Almanor. Tight lines!


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