Harry W. Murray

Here’s an equation every fly fisher should know:

STReamer + nYMPH = more fish. This fly can be fished both as a streamer and a nymph – hence the name STRYMPH. It will take trout and smallmouth almost anywhere you fish it. To match a broader variety of food forms tie the same pattern in olive or cream in addition to the original black.


Black Strymph Hellgrammite Sculpin 
 - Dark Stonefly Mad tom
 - Dragon fly Tadpole
 -   leech
Olive Strymph Damselfly Sculpin 
 - Dragonfly Shiner
 - Caddis larva  
Cream Strymph Crane fly larva Chub
 - Mayfly nymph Silverside
 - Caddis larva Shad
 -   Shiner


For trout streams tie them in sizes 6 and 10 for smallmouths use sizes 4 through 10. I encourage you to experiment because STRYMPHs are exceptionally versatile. One of them often takes a good fish when other flies let you down.

HOOK - 3x-long nymph or streamer hook, sizes #2 through #10
THREAD -   3/0 prewaxed monocord, color to match body.
WEIGHT - Lead wire (The thickness of the hook shank) wrapped over three fourths of the hook shank.
TAILS - Ostrich herl, color to match body. On a larger Strymph, use up to 20 strands of herl: a smaller fly need fewer strands, select herl that has full, thick side filaments.
BODY - Black, cream, or olive rabbit fur.
COLLAR - Brown speckled Indian hen saddle.


  1. Debarb hook – Mount the hook in the vise - start the thread about three eyelets from the eye and using the tag end of the thread lay a thread base all the way back to just before the hook bend then clip off your tag end. Now wrap your lead on three fourths of the hook shank then with your thread put a small dam of thread in front and behind the lead so you don’t have a step when wrapping your body later. Also a few spiral wraps of thread over the lead will help keep things together. Now coat the whole thing with head cement and let it dry (This keeps things from spinning on the hook shank).
  2. Tie in the tails(about a whole hooks length) by the butt ends of the herl and along the length of the hook shank (up and over the lead to just in front of the lead wire) clip off tag end of herl and work your thread back to the base of your tail.
  3. Make a dubbing loop at the rear of the hook with a dubbing twister of some sort inside the loop. (You can make one with a metal coat hanger or a paper clip).Advance the working thread not the loop part way up the shank.
  4. Clip a hunk or strip of rabbit fur and put it crosswise inside the loop. (Clip off the hide). Carefully spread out the material, keeping it centered within the loop. Remember to leave some bare thread below the fur
  5. Twist the loop to make a fur chenille, twist it a lot; you want to trap the fur securely.  
  6. Wrap the fur chenille up the hook, stroking the fibers rearward every half turn. (If you poke your finger on the hook point take a #2 pencil and remove the eraser and put it on the hook point). Tie down the bare thread at the end of the twisted loop to secure the fur chenille.      
  7. Make another dubbing loop, fill it with fur, and twist it. (A large hook might require the loops to fill the shank).
  8. Wrap the second fur chenille up the hook shank and tie it off. Be sure to leave enough room to attach and wind a hackle. Whip finish and clip the thread.
  9. With a small comb, brush the fur to remove any tangles and to make all the fibers stand up. Trim the body to shape (Cigar shape, thinner in the back fat in the front).
  10. Reattach the thread at the front of the hook. Prepare and tie in a speckled hen back feather.
  11. Make several wraps of hackle (on a larger fly, up to four) to form a wet fly collar, petting the hackle backward with each wrap.
  12. Tie off the hackle feather, form a tapered head, whip finish and apply at least one coat of head cement.

*** But remember to practice    C.P.R. (CATCH – PICTURE – RELEASE).