How to Tie: The Lightning Bug Nymph

In this week’s “How to Tie” video feature, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions gives us a great tutorial on how to tie the Lightning Bug Nymph.

Learn About This Fly:

Difficulty: Novice

The Lightning Bug nymph pattern was spawned by Larry Graham in the early 90’s and has lead to a multitude of variations over the years. This flashy little attractor has always been a go to in the summer time but is now proving to be quite effective in the late Spring and early Fall months as well. That being said, the Lightning Bug Nymph should always have a place in your fly box.

This fly is very similar to the Rainbow warrior in that the body of the fly is tied with tinsel. Although in most cases the rainbow warrior is tied using flash-a-bou which can be equally as effective on the lightning bug. This fly works great as a lead attractor fly on a nymph rig and can also be fished on a dead drift to entice trout movement. The tungsten bead on this fly will ensure that your nymphs venture deep into the water column.

Traditionally, the Lightning Bug Nymph is tied with silver colored material. As mentioned, the fly fishing world has taken to breaking tradition and creating a multitude of variations over the years. The good thing with this fly is that it allows the angler to be creative. Test this fly out using a variety of colors and materials until you find the hot combination.


  • Hook: Fulling Mill FM50 85 Black Nickel 2X Long Nymph Hook Size 14
  • Bead: 7/64 Inch Nickel Tungsten Bead
  • Thread: UTC Ultrathread 70 Denier – White
  • Lead: Lead Free Wire Spool – .015
  • Wire: Small Silver Ultra Wire
  • Tail: Natural Pheasant Tail Fibers
  • Legs: Natural Pheasant Tail Fibers
  • Body: Medium Silver Hollow Tinsel
  • Wing Case: Large Opal Mirage Tinsel
  • Thorax: Peacock Hearl

Now you know how to tie the Lightning Bug Nymph.

Video and Ingredients courtesy of Tightline Productions.

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