Like many fly anglers, I have been spending more time behind my vise as of late. It’s easy to take an abundance of time at home for granted but very soon we will be busy again with picked over fly boxes. When that happens, time behind the vise will be hard to come by. For that reason, I wanted to share a few quick patterns to help re-stock your boxes and put fish in the net. All of these patterns can be tied in under two minutes with minimal practice, making them great last-minute ties.

1.McCannel’s Neon Nightmare Midge 

This trout fly originated in neon orange and pink but can be tied in a variety of colors with equal effectiveness representing an array of species contrary to what the name suggests. Tied in green, it could represent a caddis emerger although the possibilities are endless. Rather than imitating a lifelike midge it works as a great general attractor for stubborn fish, particularly when you want to stand out during a midge hatch. While it’s not technically ready to fish in under 2 minutes due to the epoxy drying time, you’ll be pumping these out with little practice. Check out the video below from Bob Reece of Thin Air Anglers as he twists up one of Matt McCannel’s Neon Nightmare Midges.

2.Chocolate Thunder/Foam Wing Emerger
A great midge emerger pattern that’s super quick to tie. Wrap a strand of midge sized gold wire over a chocolate brown thread body, add a little craft foam, and voilà you’re done. One sheet of 2mm white craft foam (typically $1 in any craft store) will provide enough material to twist up thousands of these. While this pattern is representative of midge pupae, you can tie in any sort of hackle for a tail to have a simple baetis emerger pattern that works just as well! Simple, effective, and cheap, what more could you ask for? Check out this trout fly pattern tied by McFly Angler below!

3. Mercury Black Beauty 

Next up is the Mercury Bead Black Beauty a tailwater favorite throughout the west. The glass bead is representative of the gas bubble trapped inside midge pupae prior to emergence and offers a different look from many standard midge patterns. The black dubbing collar adds just the right touch of buggy-ness to get the job done. Add a little flashabou under the ribbing and you have a Flashback Black Beauty or remove the bead for Pat Dorsey’s classic Black Beauty. Instructions on tying this classic trout fly pattern can be found in the video below from In The Riffle.

As you can see, the foundation of the Zebra Midge, Chocolate Thunder, and the Mercury Black Beauty are all similar, relatively simple, and open the door to hundreds of variations. In half an hour you can twist up a variety of midge larvae and pupae to cover your bases to fool the pickiest of trout.

4. Enhanced Squirmy Wormy

You can put away your magnifying glasses for the next few patterns.  Runoff is affecting rivers and streams across the country. With the rising water comes an abundance of worms throughout the ecosystem. There are a variety of worm patterns from the classic San Juan Worm to the Pig Sticker, but I prefer the infamous Squirmy Worm.

My go-to worm pattern variation, also a quick tie, comes from Cheech at Fly Fish Food. His enhanced version is more durable than a standard Squirmy Wormy and has a bead head that I love. It never hurts to have a few worms in different colors (red, pink, and tan) when flows bump. Cheech’s original video is over 8 minutes long but includes a lot of explanation. Watch it once and you’ll be a worm tying master!

5. Mop Fly

This much-hyped fly is simple to tie and effective. Not the sexiest fly per se but it sure works and is cheap. Grab a mop at the dollar store, a few beads, and your choice of dubbing, and you are well on your way.  The Mop Fly is most representative of Sourwood Worms, in it’s original green, but can also represent caddis. Like the squirmy wormy above, the Mop Fly is a great attractor pattern. The mop will absorb water helping it sink quickly, making it a great choice for a tandem nymph rig. With high water throughout the country, you might want to give this thing a try. Check out the video below from Mad River Outfitters for instruction on this quick fly pattern.

It’s no secret that a few members of our team have deep rooted love for this fly and it’s worth giving it a chance. While a majority of the flies on this list are directed towards trout, the humble mop fly will catch a variety of species from carp to bass. If you would like to learn more about the history of the mop fly, head over and check out our featured fly pattern article.

Time to Hit the Vise

These 5 trout fly patterns will be familiar to many, but are classics and instant-classics for one reason, they work. If your boxes are still looking sparse, maybe it’s time to twist up a few of these bugs. With any sort of practice, these 5 trout flies can easily be tied in under two minutes, making them great choices to twist up late at night or while your last cup of coffee is brewing before hitting the water. We would love to hear some of your favorite quick-tie patterns in the comments!

Article by Evan Garda, he is on the Content Team here at Fly Lords. He can be found chasing trout throughout the west with his trusty fly rod. Check out his adventures at @evangarda.

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