Tying the Copper John for fly fishing involves a series of steps. Here's a simplified version of the tying process. Please note that following detailed instructions or watching video tutorials is always best to ensure accuracy.


Copper John Materials 

  • Hook: Nymph hook (e.g., size 12-18)
  • Thread: Black or color to match the body
  • Tail: Pheasant tail fibers
  • Abdomen: Copper wire
  • Thorax: Peacock herl or dubbed synthetic material
  • Wing case: Thin strip of black or dark brown turkey feather
  • Legs: Strands of pheasant tail fibers
  • Head: Tying thread or dubbing

Step-by-step instructions

Copper John Green

  1. Get your hook ready in the vise. Start the thread near the hook eye and secure it along the shank to the bend.
  2. Tie in a few pheasant tail fibers for the tail, extending beyond the hook bend. Position them to be roughly the length of the hook shank.
  3. Secure a piece of copper wire to the hook shank, ensuring it extends to the bend. This will be used for the abdomen.
  4. Wrap the thread back up to the starting point near the hook eye, covering the wire along the way. This creates a smooth underbody for the fly.
  5. Begin wrapping the copper wire in a tight spiral, creating the abdomen. Secure it with thread wraps and trim any excess wire.
  6. Tie in several strands of pheasant tail fibers near the thorax area, extending slightly beyond the hook bend. These will be used as the legs.
  7. Create the thorax by tying in a few strands of peacock herl or dubbing material. Wrap it around the hook shank to form a slightly thicker section behind the eye. Secure it with thread wraps.
  8. Prepare a thin strip of black or dark brown turkey feather for the wing case. Tie it in at the thorax area, folding it over the top of the thorax and secure it with thread wraps.
  9. Trim the excess turkey feather and form a neat head by making a few thread wraps at the hook eye. Whip finish and trim the thread.
  10. Apply a drop of head cement or clear nail polish to the thread wraps to secure them in place.


Tymothe Meskel
Post by Tymothe Meskel
June 7, 2024
Tymothe Meskel is an avid fly fisherman who spends every week out on the water, rain, shine, or snow. He is an outdoor enthusiast who shares their experiences, tips, and insights on this fly fishing blog. With a wealth of knowledge about various techniques, equipment, and fly patterns, he helps anglers of all skill levels improve their fishing game. Join Tymothe on this journey as he uncover the joys of fly fishing and inspire others to appreciate the wilderness and preserve our natural resources.