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

Trident Fly Fishing is a full-service fly shop. We spend a lot of time testing gear and writing reviews to give you all of the tools to make your next trip a success.  We are not a blog or a review site. 100% of our funding comes from your gear purchases, so if this blog post helps you on your next fly fishing adventure, please support us by buying your gear from us.

The Zug Bug is an old fly pattern that's versatile in its design and relatively easy to tie. This pattern can be dead drifted to imitate a Stonefly or Cased-Caddis, stripped to imitate a small baitfish, or swung to imitate an emerging insect. The fly profile is perfect for western trout fishing and a host of other freshwater applications. Follow along as Jared gives step-by-step instructions to tie this dynamic pattern.


Step One:

Start by wrapping the lead wire around the hook shank to create an underbody. This will also add weight to the fly.

Step Two:

Start your thread and tie in the Peacock Sword feathers to create the tail of the fly. Measure the feathers so they extend roughly the gap of the hook shank in length. Trim the butts just behind the lead underbody.

Step Three:

Next, tie in the UTC Ultra Wire that will be used later to rib the fly.

Step Four:

Tie in 4-5 strands of Peacock Herl just in front of the tail of the fly and wrap them forward taking touching turns to create the body of the fly. Tie the strands off just behind the eye of the hook and break the stems off cleanly so there are no excess feathers showing.

Step Five:

Keeping your thread just behind the eye of the hook, bring your wire up through the body to rib the fly. Take open turns - this will add durability and segmentation to the fly.

Step Six:

Next, select a partridge feather and trim the tip and pluck out the fuzzy parts of the feather. Stroke the fibers back to create a V shape and tie the feather in just behind the eye of the hook. Wrap the feather around the hook shank while sweeping the fibers rearward to create the legs of the fly. Tie the partridge feather off and trim the butt end.

Step Seven:

Select one Mallard Flank Feather and tie it in right on top of the hook shank. This will create a hot spot on top of the fly.

Step Eight:

Trim the Mallard Flank Feather so it extends roughly halfway to the hook point.

Step Nine:

Add some head cement to reinforce your thread wraps and that's it! That's the Zug Bug, a popular attractor pattern and a great searching fly on freestone rivers in the western US and beyond.


Give us a call here at the shop at (888) 413-5211 or email us anytime at [email protected].