The LW's Itchy, as it has come to be known, was, at first, a shot to develop a good summer/fall pattern for when my fish developed a taste for Isonychia mayfly nymphs-Slate Drakes for those who don't speak Latin.  Iso nymphs are sleek, dark bugs that swim well.  When they hatch, they will migrate to slower water where they climb debris to emerge-a unique behavior that I feel can be important.  I wanted a bug that was alive and possessed the profile of these bugs, but also was not so imitative that it "got lost in the shuffle."

Early prototypes were based on the popular peacock theme.  I have also tried many forms of soft hackle collars, no collars, and dubbing collars.  What you have before you is where I currently stand on this super-effective pattern.

"The Itchy" has become a favorite of mine for clear water winter fishing and for "match the hatch" late summer and early fall fishing.  It animates well, allowing me to make it behave like a migrating nymph, but it also takes fish who are feeding opportunistically.  It probably looks much enough like a stonefly nymph, cased caddis, or various other food items that it just plain get's eaten.  In fact, when I fished for Fly-Fishing Team USA at the World Fly Fishing Championships in Italy in 2011, this fly was a top producer for me and I do not think Europe has a prolific population of Isonychia mayflies!

Please, give it a try!


Hook: TMC 403 BLJ (#10-#16)

Weight: Black nickle slotted tungsten bead, lead wire

Thread: Black 6/0

Tail: Pardo CdL

Rib: Opalescent Sulky thread

Abdomen: Black Peacock Ice Dub

Hackle: Black CDC

Thorax: Sybai Gold Olive UV Fine Flash (Performance Flies)

Click photos to enlarge.

Slide the bead on the hook and the hook in the vise.

Match the lead wire to the hook diameter.

Place 6-8 wraps of lead on the hook and slide it up to the bead.

(I forgot to photo the step showing how to affix the thread!!!) Start your thread behind the lead and wrap forward to the bead then back to the bend.  Please look at any of my other nymph tutorials for this step.  Oops!

Stroke out about 8-10 pardo CdL fibers.

Pinch the tips to keep them even.

Cut the bundle from the stem.

Measure the bundle to be equal to 3/4 the hook length.

Secure the bundle just before the bend and bind it atop the hook to just shy of the lead.

Clip the excess.

Cut a length of Opal. Sulky.

Lock it in behind the thread and secure it to the rear along the far side of the hook.

This will be the material used for the abdomen.  I have used many different "peacock-ish" dubbings but this seems to be the most productive.

Place a sparse amount on about 3" of thread.

With your thumb and finger, spin the dubbing into a noodle  by twisting it in one direction.  Shoot for a thin, even noodle.

Dub the abdomen, striving for a pleasing, thin taper.  Stop a few wraps shy of the bead.

Advance the ribbing on open, even, and tight turns!

Form a short (3") dubbing loop where the abdomen terminated.

Select three black CDC feathers.  Notice that I am using need to use entire feathers.  Look for the portion of the feathers that have barbs about equal to 3/4 the hook length.  Align the feathers, on top of each other, by the tips.

Strip the barbs from one side (at one time) from the feathers.  Place the fibers into the dubbing loop close to the hook.

Repeat for the other side.

Spin the dubbing loop.  This locks the fibers in place forming a bit of a chenille.

Begin to wrap a collar with the CDC "hackle."  Stoke the fibers to the rear between each wrap.  Don't worry too much about trapped fibers.

Once the loop is used-up, or the collar looks good to you, secure the loop with thread and clip it off.

Using Velcro, brush through the CDC collar to untrap any fibers and get them oriented rear-wards.

Notice the difference!

This will be the dubbing for the thorax.  This material is available at Performance Flies.

As with the Black Peacock Ice Dub, apply the Fine Flash to a short section of thread (1.5" or so).  Remember to keep it sparse!

Dub a narrow "hot spot" between the CDC hackle and the bead.  With no further thread wraps, whip finish and cut the thread.

A finished, and oh-so deadly LW's Itchy.