[Video] Lance Egan’s Rainbow Warrior Fly

Hans Stephenson of Dakota Angler & Outfitter demonstrates how to tie Lance Egan’s Rainbow Warrior in this fly tying video tutorial.

Rainbow Warrior – What’s The Fuss?

While the Rainbow Warrior is a pretty simple and rather unimpressive looking fly don’t be fooled, it’s quite deadly. Listed in George Daniel’s Dynamic Nymphing: Tactics, Techniques, and Flies from Around the World as one pattern he would not leave home without, the Rainbow Warrior is a tried and true pattern that’s proven itself on the international competitive fly fishing circuit.

Developed by Lance Egan, a long-time member of the US fly fishing team, the Rainbow Warrior tied with a tungsten bead makes for a great anchor fly in a tight-line nymphing rig. Substituting a glass bead for the tungsten bead will lighten-up this nymph pattern for use in shallower runs or when fishing higher up in the water column.

I’m not sure what exactly makes this pattern so effective, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the spectrum of colors in the pattern. When wet, the red thread bleeds through the Mylar tinsel and the fly takes on the characteristic red color of many chironomids. Other times, the Mylar tinsel gives off a blueish-green flash that I think catches a fish’s eye. These effects are complimented by the sparkle of the Rainbow dubbing used in making the thorax and the red-thread collar that acts as a hot-spot.

Lastly, the slim profile and lack of appendages really helps this fly sink quickly through the water column which is key when tight-line nymphing.

Rainbow Warrior Material List

Hook: Tiemco 2457, #12-22
Bead: Tungsten, Silver
Thread: UTC 70, Red
Tail: Ring-necked Pheasant Center Tail Fibers
Body/Wing Case: UTC Pearl Tinsel, Large
Thorax: Rainbow dubbing


About the author

Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and find new places to fish. He created DIY Fly Fishing to help you do the same.

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