Prince nymphs are very productive flies in Colorado so it’s a good idea to have a supply in one’s fly box at all times. Unfortunately I do not enjoy tying these peacock body flies probably because of the temperamental white goose biots that never seem to cooperate when I mount them behind the bead and on top of the body of the fly. The splayed goose biot tails can also be frustrating, but I’ve improved my ability to attach these after watching a YouTube video.
I’ve had the most success with prince nymphs on the Arkansas River in April and May after the heavy caddis hatch arrives, as I believe the peacock body and white wings mimic egg laying caddis adults as they dive to the river bottom. I recall quite a few outings where caddis pupa and dries were not producing so I knotted a prince nymph to my line and began to enjoy some fairly fast action.
Several winters ago I was paging through my Scott Sanchez fly pattern book, and I discovered his ultra zug pattern, so I decided to give it a try. This pattern is a much simpler fly, but it retains the peacock body and presents a very shaggy buggy look. During visits to the Arkansas in the spring of 2012 and 2013 I substituted the ultra zug for the prince nymph in caddis egg laying situations, and I discovered that it worked quite well. As I planned my tying for 2014, I decided to produce more ultra zug flies and skip the more time-consuming prince nymph.
As I prepared to tie ultra zugs I went through my canisters of damaged flies and set aside seventeen prince nymphs in varying states of disrepair! This is probably an indictment of my prince nymph tying capabilities as many were missing one or both of the white goose biot wings. I spent a few hours reconstructing these wounded prince nymphs on Saturday, and I now have some of the real thing in addition to the scaled down ultra zugs. Perhaps this spring I can perform some tests and alternate between the two peacock imitations to see which one delivers the best results?