Though my favorite fishing during the months of March and April consists of the dry fly activity that frequently occurs with midges and spring Baetis on overcast, calm days, the reality is that not all days are cloudy or calm. Sun and wind is common and as a result we are often forced to work the river with nymph rigs if we hope to get results.
There is no secret that during this early spring timeframe, pink flies are a hot ticket. Most likely, due to the rainbow trout spawn, these pink bugs are seen by the fish as protein-rich eggs but because we feel bad or even unethical about using egg patterns, we generally disguise these flies as scuds or shrimp. We’d all agree that the thought of using a pink scud sounds way better and far more sophisticated than using a pink egg.
Either way, pink flies, pink scuds work wonders….particularly as a dropper behind a San Juan Worm for what amounts to the world famous eggs and bacon rig. Yes it’s ridiculous and any fly angler willing to use such a rig has not a leg to stand on when criticizing bait slingers or lure chuckers. An indicator and a worm rig is well – a worm and a bobber. But it’s fun to use and it catches fish – we must not forget that both concepts are relative to what we seek on any outing to the river.
As a result, when guiding on the Madison, Gallatin, Missouri and various spring creeks at this time of year, I wouldn’t be caught dead without a good supply of pink nymphs. Needless to say, one of my favorite patterns is a simple pink shrimp – just a quick throw together pattern that I started tying for the Missouri a few years back. Doesn’t even have a name.
Simple Pink Shrimp Thing #14
Hook: Tiemco #2457 or Dai Riki #135 size 12-16
Bead: Tungsten or Brass – pink or gold
Thread: Pink 6/0
Rib: BR Pink Wire
Tail/Shellback: Pink Diamond Braid
Body: Pink Dubbing
Step # 1 – Simply put bead on hook and attach rib with thread, be sure to secure wire all the way back into the bend of the hook.
Step #2 – Attach Pink Diamond Braid on top of hook – it can be trimmed and will serve as a short tail and shellback.
Step #3 – Dub pink body up to bead, pull diamond braid forward to form shellback, rib the body to create segments then whip finish and head cement. Using a dubbing needle, pick out underside of body to create a more lifelike buggy look.
Diamond Braid comes in a variety of colors – this pattern can easily be tied in different shades – olive, purple, tan etc… and seems to work well as a caddis pupa imitation – particularly on the Missouri River.