Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

When I think of simple flies, they are easy to tie with just a few steps and minimal materials. But they are also effective flies and it is that effectiveness that makes simple flies rewarding to tie. One such simple fly is the BLM nymph (it is not a fly designed by the Bureau of Land Management). The Beaded Little Mayfly (BLM) nymph is a versatile small attractor nymph effective in both rivers and still waters. By all accounts that I can find, the pattern was developed by guide and outfitter Tim Heng of Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt, Colorado along the Frying Pan river. It is a staple western US pattern that is readily available through most fly shops and online fly retailers. But it is so easy to tie, that paying for one seems silly.


  • Thread: 8/0 or 70 denier brown olive, black
  • Hook: Daiichi 1550, TMC 3761, 3769 or any standard nymph hook size 14-20
  • Bead: 3/16” or 5/32” brass, gold, copper
  • Ribbing: Fine copper, brass, colored wire
  • Tail, Body, Legs: Angel Hair, Polar flash or Ice Dub Shimmer Fringe, peacock, olives, browns, golds, rust, black

Tying Steps:

Apart from the hook and the bead, the simplicities of this pattern come from just two materials—flash and wire.

Step 1: Slide a brass bead on to the hook. Start a thread base behind the bead at the middle of the hook shank. With the bead ~ 1/16” from the hook eye, secure the bead with figure eight thread wraps in front of and behind the bead. Try and keep the thread on the top of the bead.

Step 2: Select 6-10 full length strands of Angel Hair and fold in half. (use fewer strands of thicker material like polar flash). Hold the Angel Hair along the top of the hook shank with the bend just overhanging the hook bend by at least hook length. This will become the tail. Secure the Angel Hair from behind the bead to the middle of the hook shank. Fold the long end of Angel Hair back over the tail and secure with thread wraps.

Step 3: Build up a body taper with thread back to the bead. Tie in a length of fine wire at the hook bend, leaving the thread hanging at the back of the bead.

Step 4: Gather up the long ends of the Angel Hair and wind a body to the back of the bead. When securing the Angel Hair make sure the long strands are on top of the hook. Wind the wire ribbing forward to the back of the bead and secure with a couple of thread wraps.

Step 5: Put a small dab of super glue on top of the bead. Pull the long end of the Angel Hair tight over the top of the bead and secure just in front of the bead with a couple of thread wraps.

Step 6: Carefully divide the remaining ends of the Angel Hair in half. Fold ½ back along one side of the fly and secure with a couple of thread wraps. Do the same with the other half on the opposite side of the fly. I have found that trying to do both sides at once more difficult in getting the legs symmetrical along the side of the fly. Finish the head with a whip finish or half-hitches and cement.

Step 7: Trim the folded back Angel Hair to create the legs and trim the tail to ~ half the hook length.

Fishing the BLM Nymph:

Although named the Beaded Little Mayfly nymph, Walter Wiese of Park’s Fly Shop in Gardiner, Montana thinks it could just as easily be taken as midge larvae, especially if the body is dark with red ribbing. Walter has a nice You Tube video that demonstrates his method of tying and fishing the BLM nymph. The fly excels on ponds, lakes and reservoirs holding big trout. As a short dropper under a small dry fly or indicator, the BLM nymph makes for a shiny little attractor pattern that trout find difficult to pass on. On moving waters, the BLM nymph is usually the longer dropper on typical double nymph indicator presentations. If you want to catch a mess of mountain whitefish (they are great smoked), the BLM nymph is a go to dropper fly. Although I never had the opportunity to try the BLM nymph in the Southeast, I suspect the fly would work well against large bluegill, shellcracker and other assorted brim in southern still waters.

Apart from lashing a single feather to a hook, the BLM nymph is the epitome of simplicity—simple design and few materials, easy tying steps. It is effective as well. Put a few in your fly box.


  1. Nice, Mike; shaky-handed tyers like me always appreciate simplicity, and the ability to tie this with many different kinds of materials is appealing too. I’ll try a few of these dark with red ribbing and let you know on the side what happens. (And you answered my question before I could ask it–whether this imitates a bug commonly found on BLM land or not.)

    I also coughed up a lung laughing at your description of the Mountain Whitefish. In a world where we all pay verbal homage to the colors and translucent fins and beauty and guts of the critters we catch, it’s hilarious to see the simple summary description “they are great smoked.” Hey, sometimes the truth hurts; I’ve often said it’s a mistake for a species to evolve to be tasty. : )

    Thanks for another good pattern to try.

    – Mike

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