What is a Flymph ?

Skues Medium-Olive-Nymph-if nothing else it sounds pretty cool but let’s dig a bit more.

“Vernon S. “Pete” Hidy coined the term flymph. What is a flymph? A flymph is a hatching insect be it mayfly, caddisfly, midge, or stonefly that according to Pete Hidy is in the stage of metamorphosis “changing from wingless nymphs to flies with wings”. These flies are historically fished with a across and downstream technique that allows the current to naturally swing and raise the fly up to the surface in front of a rising or holding fish in a manner that activates the soft hackle collar and body materials effectively imitating life in the ascending artificial fly. The attraction of these flies is that not only do they look natural but they behave natural as well. They have movement; they have the appearance of life.”

now, the last part to me is probably the key element when considering constructing these flies: “the appearance of life’ (even though the real bugs could be stillborns or spents, their leg/body/wing parts would still move throughout the drift downstream)

“Traditionally flymphs are tied with natural body materials that will undulate in the currents. These body materials include hare’s mask, peacock, muskrat, mole, squirrel, and other natural fur with guard hairs. Shaggy body materials like rabbit, hare, and squirrel hold water well, sink quickly and also capture small air bubbles when they penetrate the surface film. These air bubbles create shimmer and sheen and look particularly similar to caddis pupa which uses internal gases to propel them to the surface or egg-laying caddis that dive underwater to lay eggs and carry with them oxygen bubbles for respiration. The hackle collars of flymphs are chosen with color and movement in mind to match the emerging wings, antennae, and legs of the ascending nymph. Soft, webby feathers such as hen, partridge, grouse, starling, woodcock, or quail are choice. These feathers absorb water and each has it own unique action underwater.”

such invaluable insights, want tons more ? click either pick for the full, well-worth-the-read article or The Royal Order of Water Buffalos  ooops ! i meant the TIBOTF logo here.

and since it’s the first fly you’ll see when you get there: the all-time classic inevitable must-have super-sleek Partridge & Orange spider,
partridge & orange HWhere’s a hot-off-the-press video tutorial on how to tie it by Hans Weilenmann. enjoy !

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5 thoughts on “What is a Flymph ?

  1. Big fan of wet flies, and especially wingless wets (I refuse to call them “flymphs,” which to my ears sounds terribly unmasculine)..

    I’ve seen that article you referenced before. It’s a good one, save for the fact that of all the flies pictured, only one is a classic wingless wet. One thing that isn’t mentioned is tying wingless wets on 1x fine hooks and fishing them on a dead drift at the surface. Absolutely gangbusters when the fish are taking emergers in the film.

    • that’s interesting Steve because i’ve adopted the term, specially in it’s verb form: ‘flymphing’ as it’s a heck of a lot more masculine than ‘wetting’… 😆

      the reason you won’t see a lot of wings with this group is it doesn’t fit in with their approach/mindset/vision of the natural invertebrate’s drift mentioned in the article-
      “Real nymphs don’t roll over as they drift in the stream but a fly tied on a tippet will twist and turn. Thus as flymphs and shn’s are usually “tied in the round”, meaning they don’t have a designated top or bottom, they look more natural to trout. A fly that is tied with a designated back such as a wingcase and underside can look fake if it rides upside down as this is a very un-natural position, one that can cause fish to refuse to strike out of suspicion.”

      this way of thinking assumes an ascending nymph that is freely free to emerge in an ideal situation and basically disregards strong currents that push the bugs any which way and make it tumble downstream. there’s no right-no wrong and i’m pretty certain most fish couldn’t care less…

      wings will give the fly an asymmetric profile and the ‘tied in the round’ a symmetric one.
      wings, combined with the keel effect of the hook bend and point, and hydrodynamics will tend to make the fly swim ‘upright’ as often is the case with streamers.
      of course, there’s nothing wrong with adding wings to these flies. the North Country Clyde style is a good example. after all they do work and work very well 😎
      thanks for stopping by,

      • i forgot, couldn’t agree more with the effectiveness of an ‘up high in the column’ wet. and pushing it even further, try putting some floatant on a wet some time, specially the top dropper 😉
        imo, these represent stillborns and specially spents much better than the typical straight body/wings fanned-out patterns.

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