Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Squirrel Nymph – Whitlock’s

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Squirrel NymphYou will find Whitlock’s pattern reference in many locations and books, but go to the previousily mention book, Dave Hughes’ Wet Flies and forward to the colour plates to see a pattern from the master himself. Note, this book has a Whitlock fly, but does not really discuss how to dress it, the closest is the Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear. As an aside, Kaufmann’s instructions over dresses this fly (as well as the Hare’s Ear), IMHO.

I tie in the round, in other words, no up or down, no wingcase.

I view this as a general pattern you can adapt, change the colours and ribbing, as you see fit.

The magic?  Having a squirrel skin with abundant guard hairs.

Any challenges?  Squirrel dubbing is not regularly carried and I have found over the years the colours are very inconsistent, the quality is inconsistent including guard hairs and lately some had added in synthetics.  (Kaufmann went from first choice to last place with this change). Squirrel in the abdomen is nice, but not critical and so I suggest, use your preferred nymph dubbing for the abdomen. The important part is a full squirrel skin with lots of guard hairs, for the tail and in the thorax.

The basic recipe, requires some basic knowledge of nymph tying, which is not discussed here:

  • Hook: Refer to previous post on Nymph Hooks. The above fly is on a TMC 5263-12.
  • Weight: Underweight if any, we want a slim abdomen.
  • Thread” Your choice, for me, either black, red or on a whimsy blue.
  • Tail: From a squirrel skin, with fur removed.
  • Abdomen: Fine and thin dubbing.
  • Rib: Fine wire of your choosing … I tend to black or copper.
  • Thorax: Use a dubbing loop, contrasting dubbing and from the skin, more guard hairs.
  • Head: Bead, if you wish, but of course you need to add it at the start.

Anything more worthy of repeating or adding.

  • As above, I note that many ties are too thick, keep the Abdomen thin.
  • I buy my squirrel skin on sight, hard given the limited resources near me, but you want a skin with lots of guard hairs, and it will last many-many flies.
  • It is a general pattern, select colours as dictated by your waters – tan, brown, red-brown, black.
  • Same holds true for size, select hooks as dictated by your waters.
  • Given the fly thorax traps air, a good thing, I may add a little split shot 6″ up the leader.
  • The smallest versions (3399-16), maybe a dropper below a bouyant dry.
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Written by raspberryfisher

2009/10/25 at 18:11

Posted in Fly-Tying, Nymphs

One Response

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  1. […] The middle fly is not weighted, it also can be a woven nymph, caddis, partridge wet-fly or a general emerger such as a Whitlock’s Squirrel Nymph. […]


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