The late Larry Graham of Kirkland, Washington, designed the Lightning Bug in 1992 to use on the Yakima River. He wanted a flashy, fast-sinking pattern that would reflect the colors of the water and the streambottom, as well. The pattern was widely publicized in a 1998 Fly Tyer article, and it has been popular ever since. Anglers have found that the Lightning Bug can be very effective on tailwaters, as well.
In this week’s video from Tightline Productions, Tim shows you how to tie a Lightning Bug, offering a few tying tricks along the way. As usual, Tim’s goal is maximum efficiency in making sure each material stays in its place. The result is both gaudy and elegant, and the trout will love it.
Hook: 2X-heavy, black nickel nymph hook (here a Fulling Mill FM5085), sizes 14-18.
Head: Nickel-color tungsten bead, 7/64-inch.
Thread: White, 8/0 or 140-denier.
Weight: Lead-free round wire, .015.
Rib: Silver Ultra Wire, small.
Tail: Natural pheasant-tail fibers.
Body: Silver Holo Tinsel, medium.
Wingcase: Opal Mirage Tinsel, large.
Legs: Natural pheasant-tail fibers.
Thorax: 2 peacock herls.
Adhesive: Head cement (here, Sally Hansen Hard-As-Nails).
Tools: Plunger-style hackle pliers and whip-finish tool.
2 thoughts on “Video: How to Tie the Lightning Bug”
Thanks for the history lesson. I’ve found these in smaller sizes to be effective for fussy trout. I’ve never tied them but will now give it a try. The technique of securing the lead free wire is brilliant! Lots of great tips on tying and handling the other materials. Thanks Orvis and Tim.
The Orvis Lightning Bug is my go-to fly when fishing the creeks here in SE PA. Always have success with this awesome nymph…even when nothing else is working!