The Gilled Nymph is a pattern from Colorado’s own Shane Stalcup. Shane was one of the most prominent tyers on the scene these days with several innovative patterns to his credit. The Gilled Nymph is certainly one of his most popular patterns ’cause the damn thing catches fish. The pattern I’ll show here is the callibaetis version, particularly handy in stillwaters like Spinney Reservoir and the Delaney Lakes. Fish this pattern on either a floating or intermediate line with a slow hand twist retrieve over weedbeds and along shorelines. OR, you can just hang this under an indicator and wait for the fish to do the rest. You should note that this pattern can be adapted to other mayflies by simply changing the colors of the materials to match your target species. Check out more of Shane’s patterns in his book: Mayflies, Top to Bottom.
Hook: TMC 200R #12-18
Thread: UNI 8/0 Rusty Dun
Tail: Ostrich herl, tan
Rib: Fine Gold Wire
Abdomen: Ostrich Herl, tan
Wingcase: Medallion Sheeting, brown
Thorax: Tan Sow Scud Dubbing, Superfine or Possum
Legs: Natural Hungarian Partridge Feather
Start the thread and wrap back to the bend. Select three ostrich herls from the quill and cut them free at their bases. Even the tips of the feathers and measure the tips against the shank so they are about a half a shank length long.
Tie the three ostrich herl tips in at the bend with the tails extending one half a shank length beyond the hook bend. Tie these in with two firm wraps of thread, one right on top of the other. You do not want any travel in these wraps. There should just be a single thread width wide wrap of thread at the bend to hold the tails in place.
Lay a piece of gold wire in along the thread wrap at the base of the tail and tie it down on top of the initial wraps of thread.
Lift the butt ends of the ostrich herl up and pull them back toward the bend of the hook. Wrap the thread forward over the stub end of the wire, securing it along the near side of the hook shank up to about the seventy-five percent point.
Wrap all the way forward over the wire and leave the thread hanging at the front end of the abdomen.
Grab all three ostrich herls and twist them in your fingertips so they roll into a cord.
Wrap the ostrich herl cord forward to the seventy five percent point on the shank and tie them all off there.
Spiral wrap the wire forward through the ostrich herl forming a tight rib. Tie off the wire and clip the excess at the front of the abdomen.
Heat the needle in your bodkin with a cigarette lighter and run it along the top and the bottom of the ostrich herl thorax, singeing the fibers off the dorsal and ventral surfaces. This will leave the fibers along the sides of the fly to imitate the gills of the natural callibaetis.
Side view of the abdomen after the top and bottom have been singed.
Overlap the thread back onto the front edge of the abdomen to the sixty percent point on the shank. Tie in a length of Medallion Sheeting that is about as wide as the gap of the hook right on top of the front edge of the abdomen. You can just cut a slit in the end of the Medallion Sheeting and tear it the rest of the way up the sheet to make a nice even strip for the wingcases on several flies.
Dub an elongated thorax from the base of the wingcase to just behind the hook eye.
Select a partridge feather from the hide and strip the fluff from the bottom of the feather. trim the center quill out of the top of the feather, leaving the “V” shaped cut-out seen here.
Lay the partridge feather in so the “V” is split on either side of the hook and the tips of the fibers extend back to about the mid-point on the shank. Tie the partridge feather in right behind the hook eye with a couple tight turns of thread.
Pull the strip of Medallion Sheeting forward over the thorax and tie it down behind the eye as well. Cut the remaining Medallion Sheeting and the stem from the partridge feather flush behind the hook eye now.
Build a smooth thread head to cover the stub ends of the tie off area and whip finish the thread. clip the thread while you’re at it.
Finished fly, top view.