Walt’s Worm

Walt's Worm: An All-Purpose "nymph"

Walt’s Worm: An All-Purpose “nymph”

Walt’s Worm:

Hook: Standard Nymph Hook

Body: Blended Light Hare’s Ear dubbing, such as Hareline Hare’s Ear Color, you can also add a bit of antron to the blend

Thread: Tan or Gray

Tying Notes: Make sure to use a dubbing that has a nice mix of underfur and guard hairs, to get that “buggy” look. I tie most of these heavily weighted. I do leave some unweighted for those occasions when I want to drift it in shallow or slow moving water.

General Notes:This pattern was originated by Central Pennsylvania Fly Fishing star Walt Young. I think it is taken by the trout as many different things (sow-bugs, scuds, crane-fly larvae, caddis larvae). That general effectiveness is the reason it is a staple in many fly-boxes. Tie these up in size 10 through 16. make sure you fish it dead-drifting right along the bottom.

I use Walt’s Worm most often as a sow-bug imitation on Pennsylvania’s Spring Creek. There are more elaborate imitations available of course – but Walt’s Worm has caught more fish for me on Spring Creek than anything else.

3 Comments on Walt’s Worm

  1. CM_Stewart // May 16, 2009 at 8:33 PM // Reply

    Blend in just a few strands of red mohair. When thoroughly wet, that will give the fly a slight pinkish tone, which is what Frank Sawyer achieved for his Killer Bug with the now unobtainable Chadwick’s 477 yarn. The Killer Bug looks an awful lot like Walt’s worm, and the pinkish tone from the yarn is supposedly what made it so very effective.

    • Anthony Naples // May 17, 2009 at 9:15 AM // Reply

      That’s very interesting – do you know what the intent was of the Killer Bug? Was it meant as an imitation of anything in particular?

  2. CM_Stewart // May 18, 2009 at 6:28 PM // Reply

    It was originally tied to imitate a gammarus pulex (known to American anglers as a scud).


    The following article was written by Frank Sawyer’s grandson.

    I don’t rely on sight fishing as the article suggests, but I do find that the killer bug is by far my most effective subsurface fly. I don’t fish spring creeks, but it really is a “killer” anywhere there are scuds.

what say you?