Video: How to Tie the Pink Squirrel Nymph

Written by: Phil Monahan

Here’s a good step-by-step fly-tying video from Rob Weiker of Lakestream Outfitters in Whitefish, Montana. Like a lot of guides, he knows that good winter fly patterns need a little extra flash or color to draw strikes, and pink flies are often productive. The Pink Squirrel combines the natural “bugginess” of hare’s ear dubbing with the razmataz attraction of a gold bead, Krystal Flash, and sparkly pink dubbing. The result is a heavy fly that will get to the bottom quickly and makes a real show of itself. It’s a pattern that works for trout, steelhead, and even panfish, and it’s popular throughout the Midwest and Rocky Mountains.

The Pink Squirrel was first created by Wisconsin angler John Bethke, who has taught fly fishing at University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. He is well aware that his nymph doesn’t conform to “classical” fly-tying or -fishing orthodoxy, and he has written:

I have some friends who are not inclined to even tie a pink squirrel on their leaders, not to mention use a strike indicator. These people prefer to fish in a more dignified or sophisticated manner. On rare occasions, I feel that way myself, and I can play those games fairly well. But mostly, I fish to enjoy the travel along my streams.

I say we should let the fish judge what is and isn’t a “proper” fly. So tie up a few Pink Squirrel Nymphs and see what your local trout have to say on the matter. I bet you’ll find that they’re big fans of a some flashy color.

Tying The Pink Squirrel from Rob Weiker on Vimeo.


Pink Squirrel Nymph

Hook: Scud hook (here a Dai-Riki #135), size 12-16.

Bead: 1/8-inch gold bead.

Weight: .020 lead wire.
Thread: Pink, 6/0 or 140-denier.
Tail: Pearl Krystal Flash, 4 or 5 strands.

Rib: Red Ultra Wire, X-Small.

Abdomen: Hare’s ear or squirrel dubbing.
Pink Ice Dub, MFC Lucent Chenille, or dubbing.

There are more great tying videos on the Lakestream Outfitters blog.

photo by Rob Weiker

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3 thoughts on “Video: How to Tie the Pink Squirrel Nymph

  1. Pingback: Pink Squirrel Nymph - Help - Very new fly tyer - The North American Fly Fishing Forum

  2. Pingback: Anyone tie this? - The North American Fly Fishing Forum

  3. Joaniebo

    The Pink Squirrel Nymph is probably the most fished / popular nymph fished in the Midwestern “Driftless Area”, especially in Wisconsin. Years ago, John Bethke showed me how to mix the dubbing used in tying his Pink Squirrel nymph and the materials that he was then using, as follows:

    Hook: Mustad #3906 wet fly hook – sizes 12 – 16.
    Bead: Gold
    Thread: Black poly
    Body: Fox Squirrel body fur mixed with Lureflash Amber Antron & Olive Ice dubbing. Touched
    Ribbing: Red copper wire
    Tail: 1 piece of Krystal Flash Rainbow / Pearl tied & then doubled back to make a V-shaped tail.
    Thorax: Medium Fl. Shrimp Pink Chenille (Hareline CHM140)


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