The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Common Nymphs of Eastern North America

Common Nymphs of Eastern North America

A Primer for Flyfishers and Flytiers Caleb J. Tzilkowski, and Jay R. Stauffer Jr.
  • Copyright: 2011
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 9
  • Page Count: 128 pages
  • Illustrations: 77 color illustrations
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-20450-5
  • Series Name: Keystone Books®

Paperback Edition: $29.95
Website Sale Price: $20.97, You save 30%

Add to Cart

Customers in Europe Buy Here

“Two scientists have produced this unique and important must-have book. Tzilkowski holds a Ph.D. in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University and is employed by the National Park Service as an aquatic ecologist. His coauthor, Jay Stauffer, Jr., is distinguished professor of ichthyology at Penn State. The two have brilliantly applied their in-depth knowledge of the nymphs of eastern North America to the interests of fly fishers and fly tiers.”
“The book is a user-friendly and information-dense guide for the nymphing angler. In combining the sciences of stream ecology and invertebrate biology with the angler’s art of flytying, the authors present a practical approach to nymph fishing in a variety of eastern stream and river types. Streamside or at the vise, this book will enrich your angling experience—and you will probably catch more fish.”
“In their stream guide Common Nymphs of Eastern North America, Caleb Tzilkowski and Jay Stauffer Jr. take much of the mystery out of nymph fishing. They not only describe the life history of the most common eastern aquatic insects but also provide easy-to-understand guidance on what type of fly to use when and where, as well as basic instructions on how to create effective imitations with the materials already at hand in most flytiers’ arsenals.

“In my observation of wild brown trout in Spruce Creek, contrary to what many anglers believe, I found that trout feed all day long, even though there may be little or no surface action. This book encourages anglers to take advantage of this. It helps them narrow down fly selection when there is no hatch by listing the type and size of food that trout are likely to be eating wherever the angler is fishing at that particular time of year.

“Confidence in the fly that one is using is perhaps the most important aspect of successful fly fishing. Common Nymphs of Eastern North America will undoubtedly help instill such confidence in anglers who are intimidated by bottom fishing.”
“Scientific knowledge, fishing experience, and fly-tying expertise meet in a near-perfect blend in this enjoyable, informative, and surprisingly readable volume. Any flyfisher pursuing trout in the eastern part of North America will profit from spending some serious time with this book, as will those in other locales, because much of the information provided here is transferable. Caleb Tzilkowski and Jay Stauffer Jr. are to be congratulated for making such a wealth of entomological knowledge and practical advice so accessible and relevant to ordinary flytiers and flyfishers.”

Although the concept of “matching the hatch” has been central to flyfishing for 150 years, it has been used almost exclusively for dry flyfishing. With Common Nymphs of Eastern North America: A Primer for Flyfishers and Flytiers, Caleb Tzilkowski and Jay Stauffer Jr. take trout enthusiasts in another hatch-matching direction—to the year-round underwater nymph “hatch,” which, in most cases, constitutes 90 percent of trout diets.

Successful flyfishers have at least rudimentary knowledge of the organisms that artificial flies imitate. The relatively few and very best anglers are expert at identifying and imitating nymph appearances and habits. A major hurdle to becoming expert at nymph matching is overcoming two major limitations that make these animals difficult to locate, capture, and identify: first, nymphs live underwater, sometimes burrowed into the stream bottom, and second, many nymphs are nearly microscopic in size. Common Nymphs addresses those challenges by including habitat and life history information regarding the nymphs, tips for their identification, and representative high-resolution photographs of more than thirty types of aquatic organisms and their imitations.

In the seemingly saturated flyfishing literature, this book offers something truly groundbreaking. With state-of-the-art microscopy and their years of scientific and practical experience, Tzilkowski and Stauffer provide readers an innovative close-up look at identifying and imitating nymphs that have been historically underrepresented in the flyfishing and flytying literature.

Caleb J. Tzilkowski holds a PhD from Penn State University in Wildlife and Fisheries Science and is currently an aquatic ecologist with the National Park Service.

Jay R. Stauffer Jr. is Distinguished Professor of Ichthyology in the School of Forest Resources at Penn State University.


List of Figures



1. Nymph Ecology

2. Caddisflies

Netspinner Caddis or Tan Caddis

Little Black or Fingernet Caddis

Green Caddis or Green Rock Worm

American Grannom Caddis and Apple Caddis

Case-Maker Caddis

Smokey Winged Sedge

Dark Blue Sedge

Autumn Mottled Sedge

3. Mayflies

Little Blue-Winged Olives

Mahogany Duns and Blue and Black Quills

Flatheaded Mayflies

Quill Gordon, Pink Lady, and Gray-Winged Summer Quill

March Brown and Gray Fox

Cream and Light Cahills

Hendricksons, Red Quills, and Sulphurs

Green and Yellow Drakes

Slate Drakes or Great Leadwings

4. Stoneflies

Green Stoneflies or Sallflies


Common Stoneflies or the Stones

Little Yellow Stoneflies

Eastern Giant Stoneflies

5. True Flies


Black Flies

Crane Flies

Horse Flies and Deer Flies

Snipe Flies

6. Hellgrammites and Other Arthropods





Appendix A: Caddisfly Attributes and Simple Fly Patterns

Appendix B: Mayfly Attributes and Simple Fly Patterns

Appendix C: Stonefly Attributes and Simple Fly Patterns

Appendix D: Dipteran Attributes and Simple Fly Patterns

Appendix E: Hellgrammite and Noninsect Arthropod Attributes and Simple Fly Patterns



Other Ways to Acquire

Buy from
Buy from an Independent Bookstore
Buy from Powell's Books
Buy from Barnes and
Get the Kobo Edition
Get the iBook Edition

Also of Interest

Also of interest book cover

Deer Wars

Science, Tradition, and the Battle over Managing Whitetails in Pennsylvania