The Coulee Killer nymph (3.5mm tungsten bead), is tied with a hot pink collar in the tradition of the Pink Squirrel of Wisconsin. It has a body of yarn in the style of a killer bug. It is tied on a Fulling Mill Heavy Weight Champ hook with a 3.5 mm tungsten bead (It’s pretty heavy and sinks quite quickly). I dubbed it the Coulee Killer because I first tied them a few years ago for a trip to Coulee Country – The Wisconsin Driftless. When fishing to wild browns on spring creeks I like to have some bead head nymphs on hand. I wanted a simple bead head that incorporated some local flavor (the pink collar similar to a Driftless favorite – the Pink Squirrel nymph). The oyster spindrift yarn just seemed like a nice match for the collar.
Credit of course to the Tenkara Guides for popularizing the oyster color spindrift yarn in their Utah Killer Bug.
Not all creations at the bench work as well on the water as they do in your mind. But the Coulee Killer worked very well for me – and for other folks that used them. And so it’s stuck with me as a pattern that I fish regularly.
Not everybody likes to nymph with a tenkara rod – but I admit to it.
When I’m fishing mountain streams – streams with eager trout and low fertility (lower aquatic insect populations lead to more eager opportunistic trout) I rarely resort to bead head nymphs. Generally I don’t find them necessary in those conditions – or rather I have quite enough fun and success with traditional tenkara kebari or western style wet flies (or even dry flies). Sometimes for that particularly deep hole though … I’ll often give the shallow fished flies a shot and then – if I’m feeling up to it I may put on a bead head fly to get down in the depths.
As opposed to the mountain streams – I more often find myself using nymphs on fertile spring creeks. Though, make no mistake, kebari and wet flies can very often be killer in those richer streams too – especially at times of hatching bug activity in spring, summer and fall.
But sometimes, those kebari and wet flies don’t get to done for me. Maybe it’s high water conditions, or cold winter conditions, or for reasons that I can’t figure out – but sometimes the fish just don’t seem to want to move to a more shallow fished kebari or wet fly. That’s when I turn to the nymphs.
Tungsten beads are a great way to add weight – heavier than brass beads and not toxic like lead wire.