Glitter John

Published Sep 13th 2013

While keeping the profile of the Copper John but adding some different materials the Glitter John came about


The Glitter John

I first tied up the Glitter John a couple of years ago after coming home from a regional fly tying show with some oddball materials which included a spool of glitter thread. While sitting at my tying bench the next evening I was staring at a row of Copper Johns in my fly box when I got the idea that I should try to incorporate some newer materials into an older, proven pattern. While keeping the profile of the Copper John but adding some different materials the Glitter John came about and a few were thrown in a corner of my fly box.

Later that summer I got the chance to go to Colorado and give the Glitter John its first real test. It not only caught fish but it kept up with any other nymph pattern I tried which has earned it a permanent spot in my fly box. My favorite way to fish this pattern is on a dry dropper rig under a larger attractor dry but it will also work in a more standard double nymph indicator rig. I've had the most success fishing this pattern on small mountain creeks to medium sized rivers that feature lots of riffles and smaller runs but this fly should work anywhere where trout will take a small flashy nymph.

In action

Finding the thread
The thread is the most important part on this fly because it is also the body material but unfortunately the thread I use is extremely difficult to find. This thread is called Pro Tyer and if you can find some its good stuff but its hard to find to the point that a quick google search doesn't even turn up results. Luckily though there are a couple great substitutes that will work just as well. The first of which is Midge Body Thread from Montana Fly Company and as far as I can tell its the exact same product. If you can't get MFC products or just want to try something a little different the other option is Iridescent Thread from Veevus. The colors are a little different but it should still produce a good looking fly.


Glitter John
Adam Urban
Year of origin

HookYour favorite brand of standard nymph hooks size 14-18
BeadGold bead to match hook size
ThreadOlive glitter thread (see text)
TailBrown goose biots
FlashbackSmall opal mirage tinsel
ThoraxPeacock Ice Dub
LegsBrown partridge feather

Step 1 - bead and thread - Push the bead up to the front of the hook and start the thread behind the bead and advance to just before the bend.
Step 1 - bead and thread
Step 2- biots - Select two brown goose biots and tie them on as a tail.
Step 2- biots
Step 3 - body - With touching thread wraps go over the excess biots until roughly one bead length behind the bead. This will create the body of the fly.
Step 3 - body
Step 4 - trim biots - Trim the remaining excess biots and wrap over the butts.
Step 4 - trim biots
Step 5 - flash - Tie in two pieces of flash a little over a beads length back from the bead.
Step 5 - flash
Step 6 - thorax - Dub the thorax. Leave just a little space behind the bead.
Step 6 - thorax
Step 7 - prepare the feather - Prepare a brown partridge feather by cutting a V in the tip.
Step 7 - prepare the feather
Step 8 - tie in feather - Tie in the partridge feather by placing the V on top of the hook and tying down. Clip the excess feather.
Step 8 - tie in feather
Step 9 - Flash - Pull the two pieces of flash over the thorax and tie them off. Clip the excess.
Step 9 - Flash

Step 10 - dub the collar - Dub a sparse collar to fill any extra space and cover the butts of the trimmed partridge and flash.
Step 10 - dub the collar
Step 11 - finished fly - Whip finish, cut the thread and you have a finished fly!
Step 11 - finished fly

Overall the Glitter John is a fairly easy tie and has been a good pattern for me wherever I've used it so tie some up and give them a try!

Adam Urban

User comments
From: Bryan - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted October 28th 2013

You can buy the glitter thread you need at

From: norm frechette · flytire·at·  Link
Submitted September 23rd 2013

another option for the body is gutermann sulky holoshimmer thread

From: Adam Urban · adamurban16·at·  Link
Submitted September 17th 2013

I've tried using Krystal Flash for the body and it does make a nice fly but its also a little less durable so I'd include some wire ribbing as well.

From: Mike Hogue · Mhogue·at·  Link
Submitted September 14th 2013

You could also try using Krystal Flash for the body strands. Midge flash for smaller bodies would work as well for finer bodies. Yet another idea is midge diamond braid. Some depends on what you want for the bodies...

Comment to an image
From: Adam Urban · adamurban16·at·  Link
Submitted November 23rd 2013


All the stream pictures are from the Fraser river in Colorado. It's a good little stream that hasn't disappointed me yet.

Comment to an image
From: Lorenzo Swanson · lorenzo_swanson·at·  Link
Submitted November 18th 2013


Thanks for sharing your Glitter John pattern with us. I also really appreciate the photo's of the trout stream in the picture. Enough to further ask of you: "Where would you say this stream is located?" It looks like wonderful stream to fish for trout.

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