The Muskrat Nymph


About Us Articles Articles - Page 2 Advanced Nymph Fishing Classes Home
Dry Flies Nymphs and Emergers Nymphs and 
Emergers - Page 2
Wet Flies/Soft Hackle Flies Tailwater Trout Flies
Realistic Flies Tailwaters Hatch Charts Smoky Mountain 
Hatch Charts
Fly Tying Tutorials
Flycasting Lessons
Wet Flies/Soft
Hackle Classes
Reports Resources Bleached and Dyed
Starling Feathers
Gift Set
Top Tailwater Trout Flies
Gift Set
Top Smoky Mountain
Dry Flies
Gift Set
Top Smoky Mountain




                                          Trout flies of the Smoky Mountains: Muskrat nymph

                 The Muskrat Nymph was developed many years ago, and it is usually credited to Polly Rosborough.  Even though it was not developed in East Tennessee or the Smoky Mountains National Park, it had already become a favorite by the time that I was a young man growing up.  I heard of this fly when I was in my late teens.  It has held its popularity in the East Tennessee area for all of my life.  The Muskrat Nymph is a very easy fly to tie and one will probably see many different versions of it.  The materials that are used in it will reflect the things that were available earlier in the last century.
Hook:  Size #12 Wet Nymph Hook
Thread:  6/0 or 8/0 Black
Tail:  Black Spade Hackle fibers or muskrat fur
Abdomen:  Muskrat dubbing
Thorax:  Two strands of peacock herl or black ostrich
                 herl or black thread
Legs:  Black hackle tied in beard style or wrapped 2 times and
             trimmed on top.
             Step 1


            Step 1   Tie in thread at the hook eye and wrap it back to the hook bend.
            Step 2


           Step 2 Wind .015 lead wire onto the hook, using 10 to 15 wraps and tie down with thread.  Wind back to the hook bend.
          Step 3


         Step 3 Tie in black spade hackle fibers about 1/2 the length of the hook shank.  Bring thread back to the hook bend.
         Step 4

         Step 4 Dub in muskrat fur dubbing starting at the hook bend and wrapping forward to 2/3 the way to the hook eye.  Tie down dubbing.
          Step 5

         Step 5 Tie in 2 peacock herl strands behind the dubbing tie off point.  Wrap the peacock herl forward to the hook eye and tie off.
          Step 6

         Step 6 Take a hackle from a black rooster cape and cut a V notch in the outer section.  Turn the fly over and tie in the hackle underneath the hook eye:  making sure that the remainder spreads out slightly on each side, giving the appearance of legs. 
         Step 7

Trout flies of the Smoky Mountains: Muskrat nymph

         Step 7 Finish head, tie off and cement.

This concludes our first tutorial of old Smoky Mountain flies.  Our next pattern will be the George (Cottontop) Nymph.

Looking forward to seeing you for our next tutorial.

Hugh and Carolyn 


Phone Number:  423-586-6198 or



All Content is Copyright of Hugh and Carolyn Hartsell