Published Nov 24. 2003 - 17 years ago
Updated or edited Jul 12. 2016

Prince Nymphs

Mike Hogue drops by and offers us some variations of one of the all time popular trout flies - the Prince Nymph. By adding "a little flash and glamour", we have a few new things to try the next time we're getting skunked and want to try something different.

Original Beadhead -
Prince Nymph
Bob Petti

As far as I know the Prince was created by Edward Prince of Michigan. It is a pretty good pattern and has caught lots of fish for me. The pattern which basically represents nothing and everything is more less a cased caddis sort of pattern. It can be used as an Isyonica pattern for late summer and early fall fishing as well in the Northeast. Of late I have seen many patterns which are more or derived from this central pattern. By changing several things you can get some ideas how to refresh an old pattern.

The standard pattern for the prince is this:
Hook: Mustad 9671 or 3906b size 10-16
Thread: 6/0 brown or black
Rib: fine gold tinsel
Hackle: brown hen
Tail: brown goose biots for tail
Topping: a crossed pair of white goose biots.
Body: Peacock herl

The easiest thing to do to change this fly is add a bead. Okay, easy you say. Not so easy for nymph hooks. Usually to add beads on nymphs , take a pliers and bend the hook out about 10-15 degrees. I often grasp the hook between the bend and the point. If you yank too hard you will snap the hook. To bend back put it in your vise and push down hard on the hook shank. Remove and reinsert the hook to make it level again. Wow!
I add holographic tinsel to the for the rib and use ginger hen, for all my princes. I think that this lightens up the fly's appearance and makes it more attractive. The holographic tinsel adds some character to it also.
A good tip to do when making the fly is to run a bit of Zap a Gap down the back of the thread and then wind on the hurl, you must use a sparse amount of glue or the body will be very hard. Usually, I just touch it and run it down.

Mike Hogue is the owner and operator of the mail order fly tying and fly fishing supply house, "Badger Creek Fly Tying". Mike can be reached at 607-347-4946 or via the web at

A common guide fly in Montana is to sub rubber legs/white for the biots. They often fold the legs in a v shape and tie in by the tail and the tie one on the top. Some folks sub in red thread to give it a bit more of a collar. The rubber legs allow you tie this a bit quicker. One fly sold by Orvis for many years is the Rainbow Prince. This is combination of things which include: adding white round rubber legs for the tail and wing, substituting fox fire lite brite for the peacock hurl body. My wife ties this with a black bead in a size 8 and uses it for a stonefly, she also ties this in several other sizes as it is one of her favorite flies. The Lite Brite changes the fly and adds more sparkle to it.

A really hot fly this season in the Northwest is a Prince made using dark olive brown dubbing mixed with a green sparkle dub ( or Lite Brite), the fly is tied on a shrimp or scud hook and the tail is pheasant fibers. The hackle is tied as a beard instead of in the round. I'm not sure the name of this one, I guess it is the Prince emerger? I do know that some places they can't keep this on hand. It looks good to me, I may tie some to
fish it this fall. There you go, adding a little spice to several old ideas will add some interesting twists
to an already good fly.A little flash and glamour get added to dress up something which already works pretty well..

Beadhead Prince

Hook: Your favorite nymph hook
Tail: Brown goose biots, tied split
Ribbing: Gold tinsel
Body: Peacock Herl
Wing: White goose biots
Hackle: Brown
Head: Gold bead

Beadhead Prince - Red Collar

Hook: Your favorite nymph hook
Tail: Brown goose biots, tied split
Ribbing: Gold tinsel
Body: Peacock Herl
Wing: White goose biots
Hackle: Brown
Collar: Red thread
Head: Gold bead

Ginger Prince

Hook: Your favorite nymph hook
Tail: Ginger goose biots, tied split
Ribbing: Holographic Gold Tinsel
Body: Peacock Herl
Wing: White goose biots
Hackle: Ginger
Head: Gold bead

Dubbed Ginger Prince

Hook: Your favorite nymph hookTail: Ginger goose biots, tied split
Ribbing: Gold tinsel
Body: Dark Olive dubbing and flash
Wing: White goose biots
Hackle: Ginger
Head: Gold bead

Rainbow Prince

Hook: Your favorite nymph hook
Tail: White rubber, tied split
Ribbing: Gold tinsel
Body: Lite Brite dubbing
Wing: White rubber
Hackle: Brown
Head: Gold bead

Prince Emerger

Hook: Your favorite nymph hook
Tail: Brown goose biots, tied split
Ribbing: Gold tinsel
Body: Dubbing - mix of dark olive brown fur dubbing and green sparkle yarn.
Wing: White goose biots
Hackle: Partridge, tied as a beard
Head: Gold bead

Laura's Rainbow Prince Stone

Hook: Long shank nymph
Tail: Brown goose biots, tied split
Ribbing: Gold tinsel
Body: Lite brite dubbing
Wing: White goose biots
Hackle: Brown mottled hen
Head: Black bead


you seem to have all...

you seem to have all the new beadhead prince nymphs but do not have the "original" wondering why?

I have been using se...

I have been using several combinations as well and they all work very well for me in the right combinations of time water color and temperature. So all of your variations work as well under the right condiltions.

I would appreciate t...

I would appreciate the picture and Instructions if u can send them

I and my husband hav...

I and my husband have many fly tying book, and they all pretty much have the fly u are looking for. I could give u a list of them if u would like.... or send u a picture and instructions to the one u would like... ...

I am looking for a t...

I am looking for a tieing book with the Prince of Darkness in it. Does anyone know the name of the book so I can buy it. As for all your comments I have tied it in many different combinations and found it to be most effective in the spring when the trout are still running deep.

Excellent layout and...

Excellent layout and pictures. I had a prince of darkness nymph that used black and white biots and my tieing instructions got lost or destroyed. Anyone know where I can find the instructions.

With the new hologra...

With the new holographic tinsel out the variations are endless, the 1 I tye the most is called a mega prince, TMC 200R #6-14,6/0 olive thread,brown marabou tail root beer krystal flash olive centipede legs on the either side,peacock herl body holographic olive tinsel rib, brown hen hackle white goose biot wing olive centipede legs either side peacock herl collar with a gold bead for a head killer fly in both still water or river/creeks.

Gee it probably will...

Gee it probably will fish both ways--maybe

I will not use any o...

I will not use any of the above hackles on a Prince nymph anymore (and a lot of other nymphs/wets too). A CDC collar wrapped around instead of hackle will out fish all of these Princes combined. The flash of the CDC trapped air bubbles are an irresistible trigger. It's hard for even partridge to compete with a CDC feather.

In a hurry, I omitte...

In a hurry, I omitted the hackle and found no difference in effectiveness on wise Deschutes River trout. I still stuck Redsides up to 20 inches.

Originally called th...

Originally called the Forked Tail Nymph and originated by Don & Dick Olson of Bemidji, MN - later was popularized by Doug Prince of Monterrey, CA .

Actually, Doug Princ...

Actually, Doug Prince of California invented the Prince nymph.

A couple of other va...

A couple of other variations for this tie; Leave off the hackle collar, then cross the front biots and pull them down under the fly then split them with scissors- wah-lah, legs. Or, tie the front biots in as normal, then fold them back and tie them down. Trim them to 1/3 the length of the rest of the biot and color with brown marker- wing pads with wings emerging.

There is a video sho...

There is a video showing how to tie the Prince Nymph currently posted on iTunes. Regarding the "horns" - the original tie I believe used a beard-type hackle and not a full hackle collar. FWIW, I prefer the full collar tied sparse and tie the "horns" on top.

The prince is my #1 ...

The prince is my #1 fly
Ive always thought you wrap the hackle then add white biots, and pull the hackle under, (I even trim the remaining hackle fibers on top)
My favorite modifications #1- just swap in some died peacock-red
my second is- the good ole- fastwater prince(curved caddis hook, mustad C49S)
3-add lead under, (for a reservoir I fish in 20+ FOW)
3(tie)- use goose quills instead of biots(Id try that befor rubber legs)
4- add some flashback all the way front to back(under hackle, and front biots)

Got me a little conf...

Got me a little confused, all the books I have show the white horns on top of the hackle, your pitcures show them under, which is correct?

qulity flies!!!...

qulity flies!!!


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