Fly Tying · On the Vise

On My Vise: Isonychia Wiggle Emerger

Isonychia Wiggle Emerger
Isonychia Wiggle Emerger

Isonychia Wiggle Emerger

Hook: Fine wire Caddis or emerger hook size 14

Shank: Nymph-Head® Articulated Wiggle-Tail Shank™

Thread: 8/0 brown

Wiggle Tail Body: Brown/natural pheasant tail counter wrapped with fine gold wire.

Dubbing: Hare tron Brown

Body: Pheasant tail counter wrapped with fine gold wire

Stripe: UTC Ultra 140 denier in white (also used to connect the tail)

Pompadour: CDC oil puff in Dun (a fluorescent color can be used as well if you have trouble seeing your flies on the water as this is also doubling as an indicator)

I apologize for the wait on this pattern, as I had quite a few requests for it. I have also received numerous questions in regards to how to use the Wiggle Tail Shanks themselves. I have added that information into a separate section here. It will open in a new window so that you can continue with your pattern.

I had recently tied this pattern along with the Renegade during a fly tying demonstration for the Ridge & Valley TU chapter. It was awesome to hear how much fun tying along with this pattern was, since I have been told that hat it seems rather intimidating at first glance. So If you’ve had trouble in the past with articulated nymphs I hope you give this another try.

The Isonychia


The Isonychia is a decent sized mayfly that can be so numerous at times, and produces such action, that you aren’t even sure where to cast. There have been plenty of times at dusk where I see more trout taking emergers than I do the mayflies that are aimlessly drifting along the surface when this hatch is in full swing. Some trout will even come barreling out of the water to take them as they rise up trying to reach the top of the water column.

Isonychia Shuck
Isonychia Shuck

Many of them make it, and that evidence can be found strewn all around the river bank. Rocks where they had once climbed up to finish their transformation, are now littered with abandoned shucks.

The next time you’re in the middle of an Isonychia hatch; try to divert your eyes away from the far bank for a few seconds, and look down. Concentrate on what is right in front of you at your feet. If you stand still, gazing into the water as it swiftly passes, you will see the nymphs. They are almost breaking dancing as they head down river, and many of them wont make it to their final form.

Wiggle Emerger in water
Wiggle Emerger in water

That is where this pattern comes in handy and its for two main reasons. When dead drifted and tied just the way it is, it gives a little movement. A little extra attention grabber as it passes the eye of a hungry trout. Then after the fish have destroyed it to the point that your CDC bubble is ruined? Let it sink and swing it! It will wiggle and thrash around with those broken CDC fibers and continue to work.

Full step by step can be found HERE on my blog and as always, please comment or contact me with any questions! Happy Tying!


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