This tying guide will show you exactly how to tie the famous Prince Nymph. Of all the traditional-styled nymphs, the Prince is one of the most versatile and effective. The reason for this is its good profile and fishy materials.
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- Difficulty level: Medium to hard because of the biot tail and “horns”
- Tying time: 5-10 minutes
- Materials: Hook, bead, thread, goose biots, peacock herl, ribbing wire, and hackle
- Hook size: 12-16
What Is a Prince Nymph?
The Prince Nymph is a general mayfly and stonefly imitation. It was developed in the 1930s by Doug Prince — hence the name.
It incorporates all the good stuff that drives trout crazy: peacock herl, a buggy profile, golden bead, and the contrast of the white biots.
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How to Fish a Prince Nymph
The Prince Nymph fishes equally well on both lakes and rivers. On lakes, I like fishing them in tandem with a team of other nymphs on a long leader and a floating line.
On rivers, the bead of the Prince Nymph helps get it in the zone fast, so it works well on any nymphing technique. Due to its size and weight, I won’t, however, fish it in a dry-dropper rig.
Materials You’ll Need to Tie a Prince Nymph
You’ll need the following materials to tie a Prince Nymph:
The Prince Nymph is tied on an extra length straight shank hook. Yes, this is the norm, but nothing prevents you from tying this excellent nymph on a curved shank hook.
No matter what hook shape you select, make sure the wire is strong and the shank is long enough for the long body.
The gold bead gives the Prince Nymph that classic look. I try to stick to that theme on my Prince Nymphs, but feel free to experiment if you so wish.
You can also choose between brass and tungsten beads. As a rule of thumb, I use brass for lakes and tungsten for rivers. The size of the bead should match the overall length of the hook used.
A flat 70D thread is perfect for the Prince Nymph. Remember to flatten the thread before tying in the peacock herl as a thin, tightly wound-up thread will cut through the delicate material. Color-wise, I recommend black or red.
Goose or Turkey Biots
The tail and horns of the nymph are made by tying in biots. I find that both goose and turkey work equally well, with the latter being slightly wider and longer perfect for larger flies.
The tail’s biot is either black, brown, or dark olive. The horns are white or yellow.
Peacock herl is, and always will be, the material for trout. They go crazy for the stuff. But, it’s important that you get your hands on good quality herl from feather as fresh as you can find.
Flirt with a bird farmer’s daughter, or stick your hands through the zoo’s fence — do whatever you have to do to get good peacock herl. It changes everything.
A thin copper or gold ribbing wire, like Ultra Wire in size BR, is perfect.
A hen hackle or soft, lower grade cock hackle is perfect. There’s no need to whip out your expensive Whiting dry fly hackle here. I use a generic cock hackle and find that dark brown works well. Black also seems to do the job.
When selecting the feather, make sure that the fibers are not too long. They just have to extend to the hook point from the thorax.
Any head cement, varnish, or UV resin will suffice. All it needs to do is protect the thread between the thorax and the bead.
Tools Needed to Tie a Prince Nymph
You’ll need the following tools to tie a Prince Nymph:
- Bobbin holder
- Whip finishing tool
- Hackle plier
Step-by-Step Guide to Tie a Prince Nymph
So, without further ado, let’s tie the legendary Prince Nymph.
Prince Nymph Recipe
The specific materials I use are:
- Hook: Mouche 8423 size 10
- Bead: 3.5mm Gold tungsten countersunk bead
- Thread: Ultra Thread 70 Denier Red
- Tail: Brown goose biot
- Body: Peacock herl
- Ribbing: Gold Ultra Wire
- Hackle: Brown generic cock hackle (doesn’t have to be anything too fancy and expensive)
- Horns: Yellow goose biot
Step 1: Slide the Bead on the Hook
Slide the small hole of the countersunk bead over the hook point first.
Then, allow the bead to slide all the way up against the hook eye.
Step 2: Secure the Hook in the Vise
Place the bend of the hook between the jaws of the vise and flip the cam lever.
Make sure the hook shank is level and test that it’s solidly locked in place.
Step 3: Secure the Thread
Hold the tip of the thread in your non-tying hand and wrap the thread over the top of the shank, just behind the bead.
Wrap 6-8 wraps forward, then run the thread over itself to secure it in place.
Step 4: Lay a Thread Foundation
Lay a thread foundation by wrapping the thread rearwards with touching turns. Stop the thread foundation at the start of the bend.
The thread foundation’s purpose is to provide a solid base to secure the materials on.
Step 5: Tie In the Tail
Cut two biot fibers from the feather. Flip the one around so that both of them flair outward.
Measure the tail to be between 1/2 and 3/4 of the total hook shank length. Place the fibers on either side of the hook and secure it in place with thread.
Once secure, trim off the excess and clean up with thread.
Step 6: Tie In the Ribbing Material
Wrap the thread forward until you reach the bead. Place the tip of the ribbing material against the back of the bead and secure it with thread.
Now, run the thread all the way back to the base of the tail to secure the wire.
Step 7: Tie In the Peacock Herl
Cut three peacock herl fibers from the tail and trim the tips so that they align.
Tie the ends in at the base of the tail and run the thread up to the bead.
Step 8: Wrap the Peacock Herl
Twist the three peacock herls, being careful not to place too much tension on them.
Wrap the herl noodle forward in the same direction as the thread to form the abdomen of the fly.
Tie off leaving a small gap behind the bead and cut off the excess.
Step 9: Wrap the Ribbing
Wrap the ribbing in the opposite direction of the peacock herl, for added durability.
Create between five and seven segments. Tie off the ribbing once you reach the thread position, once again leaving a small gap behind the bead.
Step 10: Prepare the Hackle Feather
Pluck a suitably sized feather from the skin and strip off all the fluffy and discolored fibers from its base.
Step 11: Tie In the Hackle Feather
Tie the feather in just behind the bead and cut off the excess stem.
Step 12: Wrap the Hackle
Attach a hackle plier to the tip of the feather and stroke back the fibers with wet fingers.
Wrap the hackle in the same direction as the thread while stroking back the fibers after each rotation.
After three wraps, tie the feather off with thread and trim off the excess.
Step 13: Position the Hackle Fibers
Pull the hackle fibers back and downwards and wrap over the base of them with tying thread.
This forces the majority of the fibers downward. It’s ok if there are some fibers facing up, but what you want is most of them pointing down.
Step 14: Tie In the Horns
Cut two white goose biot fibers from the feather and lay them across each other so that they form an X.
Lay this crossing point on top of the hook, just behind the bead. Secure with three wraps of tying thread and position the fibers in the correct position.
Cut off the excess.
Step 15: Whip Finish
Whip finish the fly and trim off the thread.
Step 16: Apply Head Cement
Apply a good coat of head cement around the exposed thread.
I like to bleed some of the glue over the white horns to make them more durable.
That’s How to Tie a Prince Nymph
I hope that this guide inspired you to give this reliable, yet challenging, nymph a try. I can assure you, it catches fish just like most modern nymphs and there’s no denying that it’s incredibly beautiful.
Please share this tying guide with your fellow anglers and friends. Also, leave any comments or questions at the bottom of the page.
Until next time.