Whitlock's Fox Squirrel Nymph Fly Tying Instructions

Whitlock's Fox Squirrel Nymph Fly Tying Instructions
The Red Fox Squirrel Nymph Fly was developed by Dave Whitlock in the 1960s. Use it to represent many types of flies such as caddis, nymphs and mayflies, to catch trout, char and whitefish. The fur from the red fox squirrel gives the fly natural movement in the water and reflects light to attract fish.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • 3X long, 2X heavy, bronze hook
  • Lead-free wire
  • Black 6/0 thread
  • Oval gold tinsel
  • Red fox squirrel fur
  • Synthetic dubbing
  • Red fox squirrel tail fibers
  • Mottled partridge feather
  • Coffee grinder
Step 1
Place a 60:40 blend of squirrel fur and synthetic dubbing in the coffee grinder. Mix them to create the abdomen dubbing blend.
Step 2
Grind a 70:30 blend of squirrel fur and synthetic dubbing to form the thorax dubbing blend. The thorax dubbing should be darker in color than the abdomen dubbing.
Step 3
Position the hook horizontally so the eye of the hook is on the right and the bend is on the left. Wrap the thread along the hook shaft starting just behind the eye and finishing the wrap at the bend.
Step 4
Twist the lead-free wire about 15 times around the hook shaft, beginning about two eye-lengths behind the eye. Wrap the thread around the wire to secure it in place.
Step 5
Bundle the red fox squirrel tail fibers, align them at the bend of the hook pointing away from the eye, then wrap them into place using the thread. Tie the thread to secure the fibers.
Step 6
Twist the end of the abdomen dubbing and one end of the tinsel together. With black thread, wrap the dubbing against the hook shaft just above the tail fibers.
Step 7
Spin the dubbing around the hook shaft until it is one-third of the shaft length away from the eye. Spin the abdomen in a growing taper toward the eye of the hook. Wrap the gold tinsel in a corkscrew pattern around the dubbing six or seven times, and tie it all off with the thread just behind the eye.
Step 8
Twist the thorax dubbing, and wrap it around the hook in front of the abdomen dubbing until they have the same thickness, then tie it off with the thread. The thorax dubbing forms the head of the fly.
Step 9
Tie the feather by its tip right in front of the thorax and right behind the eye of the hook. Break the barbs apart so they spread in a circle around the shaft, then trim away excess barbs on the feather.
Step 10
Add a little more thorax dubbing in front of the feather to fill any bare space on the hook shaft, then tie it off and whip finish.

Tips & Warnings

If you don't have access to squirrel fur, use chestnut-brown synthetic dubbing from a specialty fishing store in your area or online.

Article Written By Jacob Hendriks

Jacob Hendriks' work has appeared in "The Western Front," "The Planet Magazine" and Trails.com. He graduated from Western Washington University with a major in international business management and a minor in Community Health. Hendriks' passion for sports nutrition and fitness, combined with experience as a personal trainer, has led him to pursue health-oriented journalism.

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