Monday, February 2, 2015

Euro nymphing - Part II. Anchor flies

a snowy day here in New England but the junco's have found some shelter

Today's topic is the foundation of the Euro rig that I fish, the anchor fly.  The anchor fly is the heavily weighted fly that gets the whole rig down in a hurry.  There are two ways I weight these flies and some variations you can do with them depending on shape of the body of the fly you are building.  I use either non-lead wire or non-lead wrap.

The golden stone fly nymph I like to use is Rich Strolis' shimmerstone.  Rich has a nice video on his website and vimeo channel.  Since this is a more involved fly to tie I would recommend watching the video.  For this fly I use 0.030 wire and then shape the wire flat with some flat-nosed pliers.  This gives the fly a flat, wide profile reminiscent of a stone fly nymph body.  Once the wire is shaped, 140 DN thread is used to build up the base of the fly.

Once the wire is covered with thread and you have a nice base you can proceed with tying the rest of the fly.  I use Waspi Span flex for the antennae and the tails and golden stone v-rib to build up the body and a small slip of brown flashy back over the top provides the shimmering brownish back of the fly.

The thorax is build up with golden stone haretron dubbing which is dubbed with a split thread technique which another reason why the 140DN is helpful on this fly.  Following a couple wraps of dubbed
thread, hen back is used for the legs and the flashy back is pulled over and tied in.  This process is repeated 3 times to finish off the fly.

Materials list for the Strolis Shimmerstone
TMC 2302 #8 hook
UTC 140DN yellow thread
4.5mm tungsten bead (gold or copper)
Waspi Spanflex - gold
V-rib in golden stone
Brown Flashy back
Haretron Golden stone fly dubbing
India hen back - natural

Another way to weight the anchor fly is used in tying the Strolis Rock Candy.  Here wire wrap is used to give a more tapered and streamlined body.

Non- lead wrap underbody

Strolis Rock Candy Materials list :
TMC 2487 _#10 hook
3.8mm black tungsten bead 
UTC 140DN Chartreuse thread
Sybia green body glass (from performance flies)
black SLF squirrel dubbing color (split thread technique)
Chartreuse thread hot spot

Next up I will show you two other anchor nymphs I've been using this past season.


  1. Hey Mark, thanks for the plug, I am happy to see that you too find these patterns very productive. It just so happens that I have a couple new little tricks up my sleeve with a variation of the shimmer stone. Stay tuned for some updates.

    1. Rich - No problem, the videos you have up are really top notch for those wanting to learn some new techniques. This was the first year I nymphed consistently and was very pleased with the results. Thanks for sending the flies, it really helps to hold the fly to see some of the smaller details and color.

  2. I especially like the bottom fly, I will have give it a go.

    1. If there are caddis around where you fish, that one is a winner!

  3. Mark
    How often do you get takes on the bottom weight fly? Impressive bottom patterns--thanks for sharing

    1. Bill - the bottom fly takes a good number of fish. The largest brook trout I've caught took the Rock Candy in the Farmington river. The next two anchors I will be posting have taken a large portion of the fish I've caught nymphing. Some days the anchor takes all the fish and the dropper is along for the ride, other days the anchor will pick up a couple and the rest are on the dropper. You just never know, which is why I like fishing two.

  4. Great listing of flies and technique Mark. I'm a newbie to Euro style fishing. Both long line micro nymphing a la the french/spanish with 20-25 foot leaders and #20-30 nymphs and more "traditional" Polish/Czech style nymphing. it's oddly challenging, but man, it can work well. Thanks for your posts on this, I've learned some good ideas which Ill need to put into play. I'd second Rich's blog and vimeo. Lots of great patterns! Plus he's clearly a Pat's fan based on his most recent post, and that raises him up a few notches for this hard core Patriots fan :)

    1. Will - I was put off by all the jargon and technical stuff but once I started experimenting, I found what works for me and I can keep it as simple as I like. Rich's site and videos are tops, I've learned all kinds of tricks from them. Not a Pats fan myself but the Hawks handed them the game at the end! I will never understand the call to throw in that situation with Lynch in the backfield. Then the defense jumps offside when Brady is standing in the end zone. Crazy game for sure!