Devin Olsen is one of the leading competitive fly anglers in the world. Recently he put together this video with fly tying instructions for one of his most productive nymphs. I can attribute most of what I have learned about Euro Nymphing to Devin and he has never lead me astray. For this reason, I highly recommend this video, and if you are searching for any of the materials used on this pattern, they are all for sale on his website The Tactical Fly Fisher.
If you ask a kid what fish like to eat, more than likely you will get the response “worms!” Everyone knows that right? Fortunately it’s not tough to wrap a few material on a hook to mimic one of trout’s favorite snacks. However, there are a few tips in this fly tying video that will make tying a latex (condom) worm much easier.
The Vladi Worm is a favorite amongst competition anglers and recreational fly fishers alike. The ease of tying, and the effectiveness on the water make this fly a true winner. One of my favorite applications for the Vladi Worm is on tailwaters where trout are very picky and used to selecting extremely small midges, BWO’s, and scuds. When a healthy morsel the size of a worm passes by many of those picky fish do not hesitate. Thus, rivers such as the Green River below Flaming Gorge, the Provo River, and the San Juan all fish well with worm imitations. In fact, another worm variation, possibly the most popular worm pattern out there was developed on the San Juan and was properly named the “San Juan Worm”. In my opinion the Vladi Worm is a bit more versatile and is typically my first choice of worm imitations.
There are a few key elements that make the Vladi Worm more appealing to me than the San Juan Worm. First, I primarily fish weighted flies instead of using split shot. I can easily add additional weight to the Vladi and cover it with latex to really help the fly get down. As much as I try to add weight to the San Juan Worm it never seams to function the way I hoped. If you primarily fish indicator rigs with split shot then the San Juan Worm can be deadly. However, the condom worm fishes well in both situations which makes it more appealing to me.
This pattern is often tied on curved or bent hooks that imitate the shape of a worm. The pattern demonstrated here is very similar to how Team USA member Lance Egan ties the Vladi Worm. It utilizes a standard scud hook and very few additional materials. I don’t think the bent hooks hurt any, but I also am not convinced they are necessary. Either way, the techniques and materials used in the above video will work great regardless of the choice of hook.
The Vladi Worm tied in a variety of weights (each on is discussed on the video above) has a permanent spot in my nymph box. For both Czech Nymphing and Euro Nymphing this fly is often found tied on my rig.
Hook: Dai-Riki 135 Size 6
Thread (Body): UTC 140 Denier Rusty Brown
Thread (Head): UTC 70 Denier Fl. Pink
Weight: 0.020 Lead, or anodized pink tungsten bead for a super heavy version
Rib: 4X Monofilament
Body: Crown Condom (Pink) cut in a 3/8″ (10mm) strip Buy Here
At first I was intimidated to tackle a technique that was fairly new to me known as weaving flies. The final nymphs I had seen other tyers produce had amazingly intertwined bodies with a dark top and light bottom that looked fishy as can be! Derek gave it a shot early on and produced some sweet looking patterns that ended up catching decent numbers of fish on our local rivers and streams. I soon gave in and decided it was time to weave. I made the most interesting observation after only a few dozen flies, this technique is actually pretty easy and can make for some great looking bodies on flies. This particular pattern incorporates the techniques used by many others in the past, but we feel that the combination of colors, and the particular materials used make this nymph special. The Pay Czech has also been picked up by Rainy’s Flies to be sold in fly shops worldwide starting in 2016.
What all do woven nymphs imitate? Caddis larvae, cranefly larvae, aquatic worms and leaches… my guess is all of the above. They fish well on most rivers and streams that I have tried them on. They seem to have just the right amount of attractiveness mixed with the imitating appearance of the natural existing aquatic invertebrates that really drive trout crazy.
For the past few years Kohler and I have been fishing woven fly patterns on many of our favorite rivers. Defining the color combinations to maximize their effectiveness has been a fun journey. Here are the top three variations we’ve found:
Pay Czech – Tan and Pink
Hook: Dai Riki 135 Size 10-12
Bead: Bronze (or Gold)
Size 10 – 1/8 ” Tungsten
Size 12 – 7/64″ Tungsten
Thread: Uni 6/0 Tan (Body), UTC Fl. Pink 70 Denier (Hot Spot)
Note: On the rusty brown and yellow variation I choose to stay with the cotton embroidery floss for both colors. I really like the contrast provided from the yellow thread once it soaks in water. If you would like to stick with a pearlescent underbody there is a great yellow option E746.
Recently I have been having fun experimenting with the successfulness of this pattern on tough tailwaters where fly fishers are accustomed to fishing very small flies to picky fish. I’ve been pleased with the results of picking up decent numbers of quality fish in situations that I would have fished very differently in the past. The Pay Czech has gone head to head with the super effective Vladi Worm while Euro Nymphing technical tailwaters with large patterns. My guess is the pattern imitates caddis larvae and possibly cranefly larvae found in these systems.
This past fall I fished a local river that has a mix of both trout and smallmouth bass. It was fun to fish a nymph that was just as effective on the smallies as on the trout that I was actually targeting. However, keep in mind that I haven’t tested the theory of the Pay Czech on smallmouth’s more than on just a couple of outings.
If it turns out that you are looking to buy rather than how to tie flies, keep an eye on the site here. We will be selling them in 2016 (probably around May) once Rainy’s has their first batch ready to go.
*I buy all my embroidery floss from the local craft store Michaels. I’ve attached the color numbers in the recipes, and it is made by DMC. If you don’t have a craft store nearby you can find it online by searching with the color number listed above in each of the recipes.