The Prince Nymph is an extremely well-known pattern in the world of fly fishing. Some may even call it "legendary." There's an obvious reason why it's such a popular fly that finds a place in many anglers' fly boxes—it catches lots of fish! I have personally caught several species while using Prince Nymphs such as trout, small steelhead, and panfish, and I usually have a few hanging out somewhere in one of my freshwater fly boxes. Not only does this fly produce results, but (thankfully) it's relatively easy to tie and in my opinion is one of the best "starter nymphs" to create because of its overall simplicity. Let's get to tying a simple 10-step example of a Prince Nymph!
Hook: Tiemco TMC5263 Size 12
Thread: Black 6/0
Tail: Brown Goose Biots
Body: Peacock Herl
Ribbing: Size 14 Flat Silver/Gold Tinsel (fine tinsel or wire are popular as well)
Wings: White Goose Biots
Weight: Fine Lead Wire (optional)
1.) Before you start actually tying the fly, wrap your weight onto the hook shank. If desired, you can first lay down a quick thread base before wrapping the wire. Secure the weight with some crisscrossing thread wraps. Wrapping weight on the hook not only allows the fly to sink faster, but also adds bulk which means you can use less material to build up the body in later steps.
2.) Take 2 goose biots and tie them in so they are angled slightly outwards. I like to position them with a soft/loose wrap or two before firmly wrapping them down. Biots can be tricky to work with so be patient here! If you prefer, tying in one at a time may also be helpful.
3.) Tie-in 2 or 3 peacock herls all together at the rear.
4.) Tie-in your ribbing material at the same spot. The tinsel I used was silver on one side and gold on the other, so I tied it in with the silver side facing up. That way, when its wrapped the gold will show.
5.) Re-position your thread up near the front. Next, I like to grab the herls with hackle pliers and twist them all together a few times which makes them easier for me to wrap efficiently. Finally, I wrap this "braid" of herls forward to just behind the eye, secure them with my thread, and clip the excess. You can build the body with a bit of taper for an even "buggier" look if you wish.
6.) Wrap the ribbing forward to the spot where your thread is waiting. I like to make about 3-4 wraps evenly spaced around the herl. Using thinner tinsel or wire will "hide" the ribbing in the herl a bit better, but I wanted this example to have a bit more flash so I chose a thicker tinsel that overlays the body more. Once at the front, secure the ribbing and clip the excess.
7.) Tie-in your hackle at the front of the body and wrap it at this spot. I prefer not going too thick with it which usually means 2 or 3 wraps before securing it. After securing and trimming the excess, you can clip the hackle fibers on top of the fly where the wings will go or simply leave them alone as I do here.
8.) To help "organize" the hackle, hold it back and make a few wraps right at the base. This will help sweep it back a bit.
9.) Select 2 white biots for the wings and tie them in so they are separated similar to the tail. I like the wingtips to be about even with the end of the herl body. Personally, I find tying in each wing one at a time to be easier.
10.) Finally, finish off the fly with a neat thread head, whip finish, apply some head cement, and go fishing!