Dave Whitlock's Red Fox Squirrel Nymph
Hook: Tiemco 5262 or Nymph hook of choice. Whitlock ties them in Sizes #2 to #20. It can also be tied on a curved emerger hook.
Tying thread: Black or Orange thread.
Lead wire: Approximately 8-10 wraps of lead wire.
Bead: Optional gold, copper or black brass or tungsten bead to match hook size.
Abdomen: Belly fur from a red fox squirrel skin mixed 50/50 with sienna or fox tan Antron dubbing or Dave Whitlock SLF Dubbing #1. Abdomen should be ½ to 2/3 of the overall body length.
Thorax: Back fur from a red fox squirrel skin mixed 50/50 with charcoal Antron dubbing or Dave Whitlock SLF Dubbing #2.
Rib: Oval gold tinsel or orange pearlescent Flash-a-bou. For nymphs #16 to #20 use gold wire.
Tail: Small tuft of back fur from a red fox squirrel skin.
Legs: (on sizes #10 and larger) Metz dark ginger back hackle or back hackle of partridge, one turn.
*Feel free to add additional materials like legs, antennae or shucks if you want to imitate stones flies or caddis pupa.
When I first started tying flies many years ago, there were a handful of well known ‘go to nymphs’. Pheasant tails, Hare’s ear and Prince Nymphs were subsurface staples. There was another ‘go to fly’ that is sometimes now overlooked by present day fly fisherman. It’s Dave Whitlock’s Red Fox Squirrel. Whitlock calls this nymph an impressionistic imitation. It doesn’t imitate a specific insect but ‘looks alive, vulnerable, and edible to fish’. Some fly fishermen/tyers swear that this pattern imitates stone flies and, when tied on a curved hook, caddis.
If your tying a bead head fly, affix the bead behind the hook eye. If not place the hook in the vice and make 8-10 wraps of lead. Place it in the middle part of the hook shank. Cover with thread wraps. Next tie in your tail. The tail is comprised of a small tuft of 3 or 4 red fox squirrel back guard hairs and under-fur. The tail length should be approximately ½ a hook shank length. Next tie in your rib. Now dub the abdomen. In ‘the old days’ I would make my own dubbing in a coffee grinder. In recent years I’ve just used Whitlock’s Dubbing blend. If you make it yourself you can customize it to the type of fly your tying. The diameter of your abdomen should be larger as you get closer to the eye of the hook. It should be ½ to 2/3rds the length of the hook shank. Next, rib your fly. N ow dub your thorax, leaving room for your leg hackle. Tie in your hackle and give it no more than one wrap. Form a head with your thread, tie and cut it off, apply some head cement to your wraps. You can fish this fly deep as a nymph or swing it as a wet fly.
Elkhorn Fly Fishing has a great instructional video on how to tie a Red Fox Squirrel Nymph below:
If you have any questions about this fly or would like to submit a Fly of the Month I can be reached at 203 305-3850 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .