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The Prince Nymph, especially the bead head prince, is one of the most-used attractor flies on the planet. It has a distinctive pattern with several attractor elements that at the same time seem natural – gold ribbing, bright white biots, soft-hackle-like appearance, and bright bead. Together, this attractor is hard for trout to resist. Many anglers carry the Prince in multiple sizes, with and without bead head.
The Prince originated with the Minnesota brothers Don and Dick Olson, back in the 1930’s no less and then called the Forked Tail Nymph. It was popularized thereafter by western angler Doug Prince (who it was obviously named after). The pattern has become one of the most effective patterns ever created.
A close cousin variation on the Prince is the Psycho Prince, also known as the Electric Prince. Just add purple, and “wha-la” you have the Psycho Prince. No one knows why purple works, but just like the Purple Haze and the Purple Adams, it just does.
The Psycho Prince takes the attractor features of the regular prince to another level, by adding the intriguing purple color to the already attractive gold ribbing, bright white biots, bead head, and soft hackle like appearance. And of course, additional colors patterns have evolved including dirty pink, green (thought by some to emulate a caddis nymph), black, blue, and others. For these variants, most of the fly is unchanged, except for the underlying body color.
Fish the Prince exactly as you would a natural nymph imitation, using the following techniques:
For fly tying, this is an lower-intermediate level fly. The tying skills and materials are straightforward, but be sure to pay close attention to the position and proportions of the tail and biots. As a smaller fly, it has less room for error than the larger attractors and streamers.
It requires a range of skills and several different materials, so for beginners is a good one to challenge yourself to move to intermediate level. For experts, there are a few variations to consider (especially different color psycho patterns), but this fly is mostly one to tie a bunch in different sizes to be ready for stream-side and save yourself a little money instead of purchasing.
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Here’s the basic pattern, which is universally used or close to it by most fly shops:
And of course we want you to have the Psycho Prince recipe as well, mostly the same as above except as noted:
Aside from the psycho / electric variation described above, try these:
For a great close-up step-through of how to tie the Prince Nymph, check out this quality video by Charlie Craven. To tie the psycho nymph, follow the same pattern just with materials per the recipe card above.
Bead Head Prince Nymph by Charlie Craven
If you prefer to purchase, here are a couple options for you, first for the traditional prince:
And for the Psycho Prince:
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