Tying The Czech Nymph

Firstly – sorry about the lack of pictures – I will sort this out as soon as time permits.

Tying the Czech Nymph is easy – if you remember the principles –

  • tie around the hook bend to get the life-shape of the real nymph when swimming,
  • try to keep the fly as slim as possible (the bulkier the worse), and
  • keep it simple.

  • Once you get the hang these will take about 4 minutes or less per fly.

    Simple shape and makeup for the fly:

    Body, hot spot in the middle (optional), more body material, a thorax, and over the top a ribbed shell back.

    Before describing the tying – the materials that you need are:


    I tie these using the Knapek Czech Nymph Hooks in sizes 10,12, 14 and 16. – You could get away with 10 and 16 depending upon the sizes of the grubs in your river but the sizes vary by river and time of year. Alternatively Knapek Nymph and Knapek Pupa Hooks will suffice – just not as pronounced a bend on them. Whatever you use – use Barbless or De-Barb the hook first!


    Colour thread is up to you – I use black and brown, black for unleaded and brown for weighted – but it’s your choice.


    Nymph Body: Hare’s Ear Plus or JS Dubbing – Mixed Box – enough for dozens of flies of all colours.
    Alternatively you can manually dub using Czech Nymph Body Dubbing, Hare’s Ear Dub, Ice Dubbing, Peacock Dubbing and/or Thorax Dubbing
    Hot Spot:Sparkle Dubbing, Ice Dubbing, Peacock Dubbing or Czech Nymph Body Dubbing – don’t be afraid to mix
    ThoraxHare’s Ear Plus Dubbing Set or Thorax Dubbing or Hare’s Ear Plus

    (Note: I prefer sometimes to mix the colours if necessary and pick out the long fibres. – This seems expensive but these are in my view the best fly tying materials that I have found. I use this all of the time now for my Czech Nymphs, wet flies, and GRHE nymphs etc)

    Shell BackMagic Shrimp Mixed Pack or an individual colour (change colours for different weights – it makes iot easier for you to pick them in the fly box)

    Again this is very simple to use – and gives a huge range of colours, textures and finishes.
    Ribbing – easy – 2lb-4lb Monofilament.

    Tying the Nymph:

    To tie the Czech Nymph – follow this simple pattern:

    Step 1 – Weight:

    Use lead wire, adhesive lead, tungsten wire etc if required to weight the fly if required.
    Try to keep this as slim as possible and only bulk if necessary at the centre of the hook. – I use adhesive lead.
    Bind this on with thread (starting at the eye) and wind down to halfway around the hook bend. (Its useful to tilt the hook in the vice at this point).

    Step 2 – Main Materials:

    Tie in at this point (in this order):

  • The monofilament for the rib;
  • The Dubbing Brush (or dubbing materials if you so wish);
  • The Shell Back.
  • (Just a note on these)
    For the dubbing brush, strip the fibres off for about 4mm to make it easier and bind in with less bulk.
    For the Shell Back snip the end into a ‘V’ so that the tied in bulk is less – – so it’s like this ===> also remember that the shell back has a glossy side and a matt side – it’s up to you which you want showing – I prefer the glossy side – so tie it in so that when it’s folded over the back it will be glossy side up! Remember that these can be bound in quite a way along the body – for strength – provided that you don’t end up with a bulky fly.

    If you are going to use the dubbing – then make sure that you have an idea of the colours and types of dubbing that you will use)

    If you tilted the hook – now straighten it up again.

    Step 3 – Main Body:

    Take the thread to a third along the hook shank, and wind the Dubbing Brush to this point. – Give it a couple of turns to bind it. Take the Dubbing brush slightly along to leave room for the ‘hot spot’ (remember that this is optional).
    Alternatively dub in the body meterails – remember – AVOID BULK!!

    Step 4 – Hot Spot:

    Tie in the Sparkle Dubbing and give it 2-3 turns depending upon the hook size, – remember that this is meant to represent the internal organs of the nymph – and is there as an added attractor – don’t make it too big – it should be subtle. Tie this in and snip off (be careful not to snip off the other dubbing brush). If you don’t want to use dubbing brush here – you can dub in some ‘sparkle’ material – but why make life hard for yourself! – Alternatively the Ice Dubbing is fantastic for this!

    Step 5 – Remaining Body:

    Carry on with the Dubbing Brush for about 2-3 turns – and tie off – this leaves room for the thorax. (At this point I usually drop in a couple of half-hitches).

    Step 6 – Thorax:

    Take the Hare’s Ear dubbing dubbing colour that you have chosen and dub in a small thorax. – This dubbing has long fibres – don’t be afraid to leave these in as they make excellent legs.
    Again drop in a couple of half hitches.

    Step 7 – Shell Back:

    Take the shell back and take this over the top of the nymph. As you do this make sure that you have it central over the back and that it hasn’t twisted. You will soon get the knack of this but if it HAS turned off centre then simply grip the body materials at the hook bend and firmly turn them so that it’s aligned again.
    When it is central (and not folded as this should wrap the back of the fly) pull the shell back firmly to stretch the material as this does a few things:

  • It allows you to narrow the strip for the smaller flies;
  • It flattens off the body materials on the nymphs back (making this more akin to the real thing);
  • it ‘hardens’ the nymph back effect.
  • Make sure that this is taken over the thorax as well, tie in with 2-3 turns and ‘carefully’ trim it off. Then give it 2 half-hitches to bind down.

    Step 8 – Rib:

    Finally, take the mono and make the rib. You should be looking at quite wide turns of this – probably 6-7 segments is plenty, and you can really pull it firmly to create the rib effect on the back of the nymph. Make these turns in the opposite direction to that with which you wound on the dubbing brush as it then makes a better rib and strengthens the fly.
    It is also preferable (but not essential) that you:

  • Keep the turns even in width
  • Try to miss the hot spot and thorax with the turns.
  • Step 9 – Head and Finish:

    Tie in the thread and snip off (give it at least 3 turns). Build up a small head and whip finish. Apply the usual clear varnish to the head.
    You should be left with a fantastic looking Czech Nymph.

    If necessary pick out any long fibres in the thorax for the legs.
    There’s no need to colour the shell back – but of course it’s up to you!

    Extras – Helpful Hints:

    There’s a couple of extra points:
    If tying the Hydropsyche – give it a hot spot;
    If tying the Rhyacophyla – you don’t need to.
    But REMEMBER – the fish don’t know the names – they just see food!

    There are lots of possible variations– depending upon what you want to do:

    Vary the sizes and weight – remember that Grayling (and trout) usually feed on or near to the bottom so you MUST get the fly down. That’s why the Czech Nymph tactic uses 3 weighted flies that bump along the bottom of the river. If you aren’t getting the flies down then they aren’t fishing effectively so put on heavier flies.

    The Knapek Hooks are razor sharp and barbless – be careful!

    Don’t think that these materials are limited to being used on deep Czech Nymphs, I have used them for GRHE emergers and along with the Oliver Edwards Caddis Legs and the other dubbing brushes you can tie up emergers and even dry flies.

    Also – the dubbing materials are fantastic for North Country wet flies – a very fine cover of thread with dubbing materials can give some astonishing and killer results! (Think Waterhen Bloa and just experiment)

    Lastly I cannot recommend highly enough the Knapek Hooks. I use the different types all of the time. They are without doubt the best hooks that I have ever come across. Also try the faceted tungsten beads for getting some really heavy tin-head nymphs down to the fish.

    Good Luck and tight lines!

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