How To Tie: The Copper John

This fly sits high on every anglers list, and low on every line of tippet. This week, Tim Flager from Tightline video is back with another fly tying video to teach us how to tie the Copper John.

Learn About This Fly

First introduced to the world of fly fishing in 1993 by John Barr, the Copper John has made quite a name for itself amongst anglers and tyers alike. This fly is meant to resemble a Mayfly nymph, and is commonly praised for its ability to sink fast.

Because of its copper wire construction, this fly has extra weight to it that isn’t normally found in common Mayfly imitations. Because of this, it is a great fly to fish on the top of a two fly dropper rig, as it will act as an anchor, and keep your flies low and in front of trout that are holding out in deeper feeing lanes/behind rocks.

This fly utilizes certain tying aspects that may intimidate the novice fly tyer. However, once you collect the proper tools and materials, this fly makes for great practice for those looking to get into more advanced ties. For those who are more antiquated with the craft, alterations can be added such as rubber legs or new colors.


  • 2X-heavy, 2X-long nymph or streamer hook (size 10-20)
  • Gold bead
  • Lead Wire (.015)
  • Black, 70 denier thread
  • Goose Biots (brown)
  • Copper ultra wire (Br)
  • Salt Water Pearl Flashabou
  • Thin skin (black)
  • Peacock herl
  • Speckled Brown Hen Hackle
  • 5 minute epoxy or UV curable adhesive
  • (optional) UV fly tying light

Now you know how to tie the Copper John

Video courtesy of Tim Flager from Tightline Video 

Article written by Flylords Team Member Wills Donaldson 

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