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Squirmy Wormy Fly Review – One Of The Best Flies

Squirmy Wormy Fly Review – One Of The Best Flies

The squirmy wormy fly has gotten very popular amongst fly fisherman. It has lots of movement in the water, which makes it look like an actual worm. Trout will often swim several feet just to grab this fly. It is definitely a great fly to keep in your box.

There has been some controversy – people claiming that the squirmy wormy is not an actual “fly”. It really is just rubber material tied onto a hook, so I see where they’re coming from. However, it is so effective that I’m not too concerned whether it’s a “classic fly”. It flat out catches fish, and it IS tied on a fly tying vise with fly tying thread.

Whether you like them or not, squirmy wormys have cemented their place in fly fishing. They are here to stay, and basically all fly shops carry them. Most common sizes are #10 and #12, but you can tie them bigger or smaller depending on your preferences.

This article will cover the benefits of squirmy wormys, and the few downsides that they have.

Squirmys Offer Lots Of Movement

With traditional San Juan worms, it is very hard to get any action out of the fly. The chenille is stiffer and doesn’t move in the water very much. Don’t get me wrong, San Juan worms catch lots of trout – but they don’t move like an actual worm does.

When the squirmy wormy material came out, fly anglers realized that it wiggles around in the water and flows with the current – just like a real worm does. This entices more bites from trout (and other species). Although the San Juan worm is a classic and famous fly, the squirmy wormy starting out-fishing it with regularity.

Squirmys Out-Fish A San Juan Worm

As stated above, if put head to head – squirmy wormys will usually out-fish San Juan worms. Fly anglers have started to ditch their San Juans in favor of squirmy wormys. This is not to say that San Juan worms are obsolete now, it’s just that the squirmy can be much more effective.

When San Juans were the only choice, anglers didn’t know any difference. Now that squirmys offer movement and life-like action, the difference is quite noticeable. Now that the squirmy material is widely available, fly tyers can whip them out on the vise fairly quickly. It is also a top fly for guides, because they are easy to tie for clients.

Con – Squirmys Are Less Durable

Although squirmys are more appealing to fish, they are less durable than San Juans by a long shot. Squirmy worm material can fall apart pretty easily, which is a big downside to them. On the other hand – San Juan worms are tied with ultra chenille – which has a strong core. This keeps San Juans fishing longer without breaking.

Squirmys can also “melt” in the heat. Especially in the summer time, squirmys are known to degrade and break down. I have found this true across all squirmy material, not just one vendor. It sounds silly, but try to keep your squirmys out of direct heat for long periods. This will help a lot.

So although squirmys may catch more fish, they don’t last very long. It is good to keep several in your fly box, so you have replacements.

Squirmys Are Available In Many Colors

Squirmy wormy material comes in many colors, and is available from multiple manufacturers. The most popular squirmy vendors are Fulling Mill and Spirit River, but there are many others.

The 3 main colors are brown, red and pink. With these 3 variations, you can be covered for most situations. Brown is obviously the most realistic color, as it looks like a real worm. Red and pink tend to fish better in dirty water or during runoff. Fish will pick up on these colors more easily when the river is dirty. These colors are also popular with steelhead fisherman.

There are other less common colors such as glow in the dark, chartreuse, orange, etc. I haven’t fished these colors a lot, but they can still work. It really depends on where you’re fishing and the water conditions. On some rivers, fish will key in on a certain color – so it is best to come prepared with multiple worms.

A Great Euro Nymph

One of the most well liked squirmy variations is the jigged squirmy. Tied on a jig hook with a slotted bead, these squirmy’s ride upside down so they snag the bottom less. This means you can fish deeper without worrying about losing your fly.

In competition fly angling, many anglers have started to use jigged squirmys. They work all over the world, and anglers can have confidence in them wherever they go. Although they aren’t a “true” Euro nymph, they still work very well, especially in competitions. However, some leagues have banned the squirmy from competitive use! It simply works too well, and it isn’t a real “fly” in the classic sense of the word.


Although squirmy wormys have many benefits, the low durability is the big downside. For anglers who want to get lots of life out of a fly – squirmys are not the best choice. However, for anglers looking to catch lots of trout – the squirmy is a great fly to fish.

For me personally, I have resorted back to San Juan worms a lot of the time. They simply last longer without breaking down. Especially for summer time fishing – squirmys just degrade so much in the heat. When I don’t want to worry about changing flies, I will tie on a San Juan worm. They will last all day and remain intact, even after multiple fish.

Whether you love them or hate them, there is no doubt that squirmy wormys catch lots of trout. They can even catch steelhead, bass, carp and other species.