Learn how to tie the Pheasant Tail fly, including step-by-step instructions, a video tutorial, pictures, and much more. Improve your fly tying skills here.

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The Pheasant Tail is an essential fly you can turn to anytime fish are feeding on subsurface mayfly nymphs. The Pheasant Tail works as a general searching pattern and can imitate specific mayfly species, as well. It's particularly deadly when swinging through riffles before a hatch.  Follow along as Levi shows the step-by-step directions needed to tie the Pheasant Tail nymph.


Step One:

Begin the pattern by running the thread along the base. Next, clip off four feathers from the pheasant tail. Measure the tail section to the shank’s length, then position the feathers at the rear of the hook with the fibers facing outward. Run the thread over the entire span of feathers, then clip the outward-facing material off.

Step Two:

The copper wire enhances the pheasant tail's durability, as well as adds flash. Tie the wire around the thorax and run the thread to the seat. It is critical to keep the underbody as clean as possible to ensure a smooth working area.

Step Three:

Clip off eight pheasant tail fibers and tie them at the thorax. Next, run the thread down the shank then to the eye. Wrap the feathers up the shank to create the abdomen, then tie the fibers down and clip off the excess material.

Step Four:

Advance the copper wire up the shank with evenly spaced wraps. Once again, the wire plays an essential role in giving the Pheasant Tail a distinct look and nicely ties the pattern together.

Step Five:

The wing section uses the pheasant tail material as well. Clip off six strands about the length of the shank. Tie them on at the center of the hook and cut the upward-facing fiber off.

Step Six:

Next, take two strands of peacock herl material, tie them below the hook's eye, and wrap the thread to where the herl meets the wings. Next, run the herl to the eye and secure the material by trying a half-hitch.

Step Seven:

For the final step, pull the wings over the herl and tie them off at the eye. Next, break the fibers back and run the thread around each strand a few times. Secure the pattern with a whip finish, and the Pheasant Tail is ready to hit the water!