Published Aug 21. 2013 - 10 years ago
Updated or edited Nov 17. 2015

Glitter John

While keeping the profile of the Copper John but using fewer and different materials the Glitter John came about.

The finished fly - Ready to catch a fish
The Glitter John
Adam Urban

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.

Good water -
Glitter John in action -
The payoff -
In action
Adam Urban

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.

Materials - There are even fewer materials involved in this fly than its inspiration, the Copper John.
Adam Urban
Glitter John
Pattern type: 
Adam Urban
Your favorite brand of standard nymph hooks size 14-18
Gold bead to match hook size
Olive glitter thread (see text)
Brown goose biots
Small opal mirage tinsel
Peacock Ice Dub
Brown partridge feather
Skill level/difficulty: 

Step 1 - bead and thread

Step 2- biots

Step 3 - body

Step 4 - trim biots

Step 5 - flash

Step 6 - thorax

Step 7 - prepare the feather

Step 8 - tie in feather

Step 9 - Flash

Step 10 - dub the collar

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


You can buy the glit...

You can buy the glitter thread you need at

another option for t...

another option for the body is gutermann sulky holoshimmer thread

brutzelcom's picture

Mike, I've tr...

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.

You could also try u...

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...


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