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Prince Nymph Flies – All Fly Anglers Should Have Them

Prince Nymph Flies – All Fly Anglers Should Have Them

There are some flies that withstand the test of time like no other – I’m thinking of Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ears and Pheasant Tails. These flies have been around forever, and they still produce trout.

There is something special about these flies. Even though thousands of other patterns have come along, the old classics still haven’t gone out of style. Most fly shops are still carrying Prince Nymphs and other classic patterns – because they still work!

This article will cover the benefits of fishing Prince Nymphs. I think all fly anglers should have at least a few in their fly box. No matter what fishing area you live in, Princes can be very beneficial to your success.

Depending on the river you’re fishing, Princes range from a size #8 down to a #20. Depending on how picky your local trout are, you’ll have to size them accordingly.

I find that in Colorado, my most productive Prince Nymph sizes are #14, #16 and #18. However, it is always best to check with your local fly shop for patterns and sizes.

Prince Nymphs Make A Great Attractor

Princes are an attractor pattern, meaning that they don’t look like anything in particular. Princes just look buggy, so trout eat them.

I like to fish attractor patterns when i’m not sure which bugs are hatching. If there’s no apparent hatch taking place on the river, throwing on an attractor pattern is a good way to fish. This works well when you’re not familiar with the water you’re fishing.

Next time you show up to fish a new river, don’t be afraid to tie on a Prince.

Prince Nymphs Work All Over

You would be hard pressed to find a trout stream where Princes don’t work. Whether you fish them in smaller or larger sizes, you can usually find a willing trout.

Princes work on the East Coast, the Midwest, and Western states. They really are that versatile, and that’s why you’ll find them in most fly shops.

The only time I’ve found that Princes don’t work well – is when i’m fishing technical tailwaters. On these rivers, trout often want the smallest flies possible (sometimes down to a size #26). When the trout are this picky, Princes don’t work very well. Here in Colorado, those techy tailwaters are places like the Fryingpan and the Taylor. On these rivers, you have to use tiny flies – often without a bead head.

Besides these tailwaters, you can rest assured that the Prince will work in most trout streams.

Princes Make A Good Searching Pattern

If you show up to a new piece of water, chances are that you won’t know exactly which flies to fish. In these scenarios, I like to use a basic searching pattern to find out where the trout are holding. Using basic flies (like a Prince Nymph) is a great way to do this. Simply drift your nymphs through likely holding water until you get a strike.

Although we all know our home waters well, it is hard to figure out new rivers. This is especially true when i’m fishing throughout Wyoming or Montana – I don’t know the waters nearly as well as I know Colorado.

Many Variations

There are so many variations of the Prince Nymph – Purple Princes, Jigged Princes, Red Princes, Green Hornets, etc. Although the original pattern fishes well, I like to have some variations in my box as well.

If you’re a fly tyer, you can even come up with your own prince nymph variations at the vise. Keeping the basic design the same, you can use different color hackle, dubbing, wire, and biots.

I find that Green Hornets work really well when there’s Caddis around, and Purple Princes work really well in dirtier water – Trout can see black and purple the best when the river is off color.

Tried And True

The Prince has been around for a long time, and it never stops working. Just like a Pheasant Tail or a Hare’s Ear, it is a classic pattern that all fly anglers should have. Although flies have become more complicated and fancy, fishing the old standbys is always a great way to catch trout.