Featured Fly: Frenchie + Variations

Forced to carry only one fly, this Frenchie would be among my top picks.

Pictured Frenchie Material List:

Hook: Fulling Mill Jig Force #14
Bead: Copper Slotted Tungsten 7/64
Lead Wire: 6 wraps of 0.15
Thread: Veevus Brown 14/0
Tail: Coq de Leon
Ribbing: UTC Small Copper Wire
Body: Natural Pheasant Tail Fibers (Pictured is a clump of 4 fibers.)
Hot Spot Thorax: Sybai Super Fine UV Yellow Orange Dubbing


The Frenchie originally stemmed from the world of competitive fly fishing. Many anglers are now aware of this awesome nymph that has grown in popularity over the last several years.

I came across this pattern around 2008 when I was active in competitive fly fishing as a member of the US Youth Fly Fishing Team. To this day, the Frenchie is one of my favorite confidence fly patterns. It’s a fly that I feel can fool any type of trout pretty much 365 days of the year. It doesn’t seem to matter which stream you are fishing, this fly that has caught trout all over the world. Not only is the Frenchie highly effective, it’s super simple and quick to tie.

There are an endless number of options for different hooks, beads, and dubbings to tie this fly with. I believe that what works best comes down to the specific needs of a situation, and an angler’s personal preference a lot of the time. Although, if you look through my boxes you will find plenty of flies with the material list and combination pictured above.

I have settled on using the Sybai Super Fine UV Yellow Orange Dubbing for the hot spot on my standard Frenchie’s. It seems to work the best for me day in and day out on the wild browns in the water I fish. It wouldn’t hurt to play around to see what might work best in your local watershed.

An aspect of this fly pattern that I have come to love is how easy it is to switch and substitute materials to meet the needs of specific situations. For example, by changing size or material colors, an angler could create a simple nymph to match many different types of bugs. Here are a few Frenchie variations that I find useful:

Fl. Pink is my second best option to Fl. Orange. Sometimes I think Fl. Pink works better on Rainbows, not always.
Fl. Pink is my second best option to Fl. Orange. Sometimes I think Fl. Pink works better on Rainbows, not always. Other color options could include Chartreuse Green, Red, Purple, etc. Tied on Fulling Mill Jig Force #14.
A variation that I use when I want a fly that could suggest a baetis nymph. Tied on a Hanak 400 #16.
A variation suited to imitate baetis nymphs. Use Olive Pheasant Tail feathers instead of natural. Tied on Hanak 400BL #16. Many of the “hatch bugs” could be imitated in a similar fashion.
A Frenchie tied with a thread collar coated with Loon Flow. Another variation useful to have in the fly box.
A Frenchie tied with a thread collar coated with Loon Flow. Another style useful to have in the fly box. Other color options could include Fl. Pink, Chartreuse Green, Red, Purple, etc. Tied on Fulling Mill Jig Force #14.

If you haven’t fished a Frenchie yet, it’s not too late to start. If you are already aware of this fly this can serve as a reminder to add a few more to your fly box. Tight wraps.

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9 thoughts on “Featured Fly: Frenchie + Variations”

  1. I still call them Bead Head Pheasant Tails because I haven’t switched to CDL.

    Either way, it’s a go to pattern for me as well. My favorite collar is red thread.

    Question: do you reverse the thread direction to tie down your counter rib? Do you use glue instead? Or something else?

    Nice looking ties, by the way.

    Like

    1. Thanks man. I’ve used glue in the past, I wasn’t a huge fan of it. I just straight up counter rib, nothing extra. I do like the red thread collar a lot when the waters low & clear. Most times I can’t seem to get away from that Sybai Super Fine UV Yellow Orange Dubbing. I love that stuff!

      Liked by 1 person

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