How To Tie A Copper John: A Step-By-Step Guide

How To Tie A Copper John (StepByStep With Video) Into Fly Fishing
How To Tie A Copper John (StepByStep With Video) Into Fly Fishing from


Are you an avid fly fisherman looking to add a versatile and effective pattern to your arsenal? Look no further than the Copper John. This popular nymph fly is known for its ability to imitate a wide range of aquatic insects and has proven to be highly successful in various fishing conditions. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to tie your very own Copper John fly.

Gather Your Materials

Before you begin tying your Copper John, it is important to gather all the necessary materials. You will need a variety of items including hooks, beads, thread, wire, and dubbing. Make sure you have all the required materials within reach to ensure a smooth tying process.

Step 1: Attach the Bead

Start by sliding a bead onto the hook, ensuring that it rests against the eye. The bead acts as both a weight and an attractor, making it an essential component of the Copper John pattern.

Step 2: Secure the Thread

Take your thread and wrap it around the hook shank, securing it with a few tight wraps. This will provide a solid foundation for the remaining steps.

Step 3: Add the Tail

Using a few strands of pheasant tail, create a tail that is approximately the length of the hook shank. Attach it to the hook using tight wraps of thread, ensuring that it is centered and extends beyond the bend of the hook.

Step 4: Tie in the Wire

Next, tie in a piece of copper wire along the side of the hook shank. This will serve as the ribbing for the Copper John and add durability to the fly.

Step 5: Dub the Body

Apply a small amount of dubbing to your thread, then begin wrapping it around the hook shank to create a tapered body. Make sure to leave enough space behind the bead to finish the fly later.

Step 6: Wrap the Wire

Now, use the copper wire to create evenly spaced wraps around the body of the fly. This will add segmentation and give the Copper John its signature look.

Step 7: Add the Wing Case

Take a strip of black turkey feather or a synthetic material and tie it in on top of the fly. This will imitate the wing case of the nymph and provide additional attraction.

Step 8: Form the Thorax

Build up a small thorax using additional dubbing. This will give the Copper John more volume and enhance its effectiveness in the water.

Step 9: Whip Finish

Finish off your fly by completing a whip finish. This will secure the thread and ensure that your Copper John is durable and ready for action.

Step 10: Trim and Inspect

Lastly, trim any excess materials and inspect your fly for any loose threads or imperfections. A well-tied Copper John should be clean, sturdy, and ready to tempt even the wariest of fish.


Now that you know how to tie a Copper John, you can confidently add this versatile pattern to your fly box. Whether you’re targeting trout, bass, or other species, the Copper John is sure to be a reliable and effective choice. Experiment with different sizes, colors, and variations to match the specific conditions you encounter on the water. Happy tying and tight lines!