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Frenchie Fly Pattern – One Of The Best Flies

Frenchies are one of the most productive nymphs around. Fly anglers have come to realize that they work on just about any trout river. Frenchies don’t look like anything in particular, as they are more of an attractor pattern. When you aren’t sure what the trout are eating, throwing a Frenchie is a great way to prospect for trout. This is a Lance Egan pattern – he is known for tying some of the most productive nymphs on the market.

This article will cover the benefits of fishing Frenchies, and why you may want to add some to your fly boxes. It is a great staple pattern that I never go without. It is always good to have at least a few in your box. Once you see how well the Frenchie works, you’ll probably want to stock up even more!

Frenchies Are Very Easy To Tie

Since it is such a simple pattern, tying a Frenchie is pretty easy – even for beginners. Mostly constructed of pheasant tail, you can whip out these flies relatively fast. The video below by Lance Egan (Fly Fish Food) gives great instructions for tying this fly.

The Frenchie is a good choice for beginner fly tyers. Beginners can usually get this fly down pretty quickly, as it isn’t too complicated. It is a great starter pattern if you’re just getting into fly tying.

Frenchies Work On Most Trout Rivers

It would be tough to find a trout river where Frenchies didn’t work. They have been used in nymphing competitions all over the world: from Europe, New Zealand, America, etc. Trout just love this fly.

The Frenchie is based off of original Czech nymphs, which were mostly constructed of pheasant tail and dubbing. Lance Egan prefers this version, as it is slim and very simple. The Coq De Leon tail makes it much more durable, as the fibers are very abrasion resistant.

The Frenchie has become very popular in the American west. Fly anglers in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana have come to love this fly – and it remains one of the top sellers in most western fly shops. It would be hard to find a fly shop in trout country that doesn’t carry this fly.

Here in Colorado, I have yet to find a river or stream where the Frenchie doesn’t work. I carry them in sizes #14, #16, #18 and #20 depending on the situation. Pickier trout generally want the smaller sizes – especially on tailwaters. Less picky trout on freestone rivers will eat the larger sizes – especially in the summer months.

Frenchies Are A Great Attractor

Although it can be fun to “match the hatch”, throwing attractors is a great way to catch trout. Attractors don’t look like any insect in particular, they just look buggy. The Frenchie is an example of this – trout aren’t exactly sure what it is, but they eat it anyway.

Sometimes as fly anglers, we show up to the river and we don’t see any bugs hatching. This is usually a good indicator that we should throw an attractor fly. The Frenchie is one of my go-to patterns when i’m not sure what the trout are eating. We call these “searching” patterns since we are trying to find fish without a hatch going on.

Many Variations

There are endless variations of the Frenchie – and many fly anglers have their own personal favorite. Jigged Frenchies are one of the most popular variations, as they are less likely to hook the bottom. Since the hook rides inverted, it can slide over rocks and debris without getting snagged up.

Tyers have also played around with different bead colors as well. Rio Products makes a version called the “French Dip Shrimp” with a black bead and a stubbier body. This is one of my favorite variations of the original Frenchie. It always helps to have a jigged Frenchie on your rig – you’ll lose less of them.

So next time you’re at the vise, try out some Frenchie variations. There are so many options when it comes to this fly. You may find that a certain dubbing, thread, or bead color works better than the original.


The Frenchie is an awesome nymph that I think every fly angler should have. They are certainly a staple during the summer months, and they can even work in the colder months as well. Tightline nymphers are usually very familiar with the Frenchie, but all trout anglers should consider this fly. It even works well under a big hopper or an ant. Frenchies work under an indicator as well. They aren’t just for tightline nymphing systems.

If you’re just getting into fly tying, this an easy pattern that you can get some practice with. Beginner tyers often get frustrated if they start with complicated patterns. Starting with simple flies is a much easier route to take.