This pattern imitates the nymph stage of our two largest mayflies, Ephemera

vulgata, that is most common in lakes, and Ephemera danica, that is most common in slow flowing rivers and streams. These nymphs prefare sandy or muddy bottoms, where they live more or less buried for two to three years. These large nymphs can be reconised by the breathing gills along the sides of the rear body.

Nymph patterns like this one should be weighted, so that they donĀ“t swim up side down in the water, this should be done by tying in two strips of lead wire on the underside of the hook shank. The R73 hook from Mustad that I have used here is so heavy in the bend that it will swim the right way even if you use extra weight under the thorax.

On these large nymphs I prefare to use Golden pheasant as the wing case. These tail feather fibres are tougher than normal ring neck pheasant tails fibres and have a little more shine.


Hook Mustad R73 9671 # 8-12
Tying thread Dyneema
Tail Olive ostrich herl
Body Olive brown Antron dubbing
Rib Olive Ostrich herl
Thorax Olive brown Antron dubbing
Wing Case Golden pheasant tail
Legs Peasant tail

Step by Step

1. Secure your hook in the vice and attach your tying thread.
2. Wind on a short length of lead free wire under the thorax.
3. Tie in three long ostrich herl fibres for the tail. These should be tied in like the legs on a photo tripod.
4. Cut away two of the ostrich herls. The remaining one will be used for ribbing.
5. Spinn the Antron dubbing onto the tying thread and dubb a tapperd body along 2/3 of the hook shank.
6. Wind on the ostrich herl as a rib over the rear body part. About 6-7 even turns. Remove the access herl.
7. Cut off the small ostrich herl fibres on the top and bottom of the rear body.
8. The rear body should now look like this.
9. Clip a large bunch of golden pheasant tail fibres and tie them in close to the rear body end.
10. Cover the thorax with dubbing, finishing about 2-3 mm behind the hook eye.
11. Cut two smaller bunches with normal pheasant tail fibres and tie in on both sides of the thorax as shown.
12. Spin a little more dubbing and dubb in front of the legs.
13. Pull the fibres over the thorax to form the wing case.
14. Tie down the fibres behind the hook eye.
15. Trim off the access pheasant fibres and whip finish. Apply a little varnish and your large mayfly nymph is finished.
16. The nymph seen from above.
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