Fly of the Month: Willy's Pip

This is a Midge pattern that can be fished as a dropper on a nymph rig or as an emerger. It can be fished in ponds or streams. It is simple to tie and you can create many variations. Willy’s Pip is closely related to the Palomino Midge. I found this nymph while fishing the San Juan River in northwest New Mexico three years ago. I came home, tied a few and had good luck on the North Fork of the South Platte but forgot about it until John Haile called asking if I had a fly for the ETU Newsletter Fly of the Month. I tried it on Clear Creek and caught three fish in fifteen minutes before I lost the only one I had with me. - Ford Oliphant


Tail: Floss, red, white, grey, tan, black or green (see variations)
Collar: Peacock herl.

Step 1: Secure your hook in the vise and attach the thread to the hook leaving it 1/3 to 1/2 of the hook length behind the hook eye. Step 2: Attach one end of the floss to the hook. Twist until the floss is tight. When you release the tension, it will wrap back upon itself into a tail. Adjust your materials until you are happy with how the tail looks. Tie in the long end of the floss at the same place and trim. A drop of cement will make it more secure. The tail should be 1-1/2 to 2 times the length of the shank. Step 3: Now tie in a single strand of peacock herl in front of the floss. Make one wrap of Peacock behind the floss and then wrap it forward to the to form the collar. Make sure you don't crowd the head too much. Step 4: Form a nice head and whip finish.

Willys Pip


Skip the peacock herl and make a bigger thread head.
Add a mercury bead head for more sparkle.
If your floss is multi-stranded, try one strand for the size 20 hook through size 24 hook. The smaller hooks and the thinner bodies are more realistic. I have had good luck with the full floss tied on a size 16 hook but it does not spiral as tightly as the thinner floss. Wayne Kosloske suggested the thinner, smaller body.
One strand of multi color Krystal Flash added to the floss before spinning will add extra flash. You can use white ostrich herl for the thorax.

Pictured below are some variations tied by Tim Stechert

Willys Pip Slightly sparser, sz 20
Willys Pip Red bead head sz 20
Willys Pip Ostrich herl sz 20