Tying a Skinny Annelid for the San Juan River and Other Selective Trout

1 May 2017
Comments: 0
1 May 2017, Comments: 0

Tying a Skinny Annelid for the San Juan River and Other Selective Trout

The Annelid, or aquatic earthworm, is a staple on most of our guide trips headed to the San Juan River Quality Waters below Navajo Dam in northern New Mexico. The Quality Waters are a tailwater, and therefore year round water temps remain consistent…and so does the food source. Make sure you have plenty of annelids in your box at all times. Beyond the San Juan, annelids are a plentiful food source on many rivers and tailwaters throughout the West. It never hurts to have a few as they can also be fished as midge larva.


Selective trout inhabit many tailwaters, and it is important to tie these nymphs to resemble the natural: skinny. The trick displayed in our video is to use micro tubing, and tie it at the back of the hook shank with as few wraps as possible to eliminate bulk, and then use tight wraps of thread to work up to the eye followed by tight wraps of body tubing to keep the fly slender. The use of two whip finishes does create bulk at the head, but also ensures the tubing does not unravel after a few fish.

Check out our tying tutorial below!  Since filming, we have also started using Red Semper Fli 18/0 Nano Silk, which is much thinner than Ultra Thread, and much stronger. It creates a very slender body and does not bulk up nearly as much at the head.  Nano Silk is an incredible thread for midges, small mayflies, and annelids.

This fly can be tied in a variety of colors: red, orange, pink, blood red, olive, purple, and root beer.

Material List

Hook – Tiemco TMC 200r (BL) #18-22 
Thread – Red 8/0 Uni thread OR Red Semper Fli Nano Silk 18/0
Body – Hareline Micro Tubing – Red OR Blood Red

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Andy McKinley
Andy manages Duranglers Flies and Supplies online store and web content. When he is not plugging away in the basement of Duranglers, he can be found in the shop talking weird flies, throwing spey casts for few fish, eating pizza, drinking coffee, painting, and raising a family in Southwest Colorado.

His fly fishing writings have been published on blogs such as the Daily Drake and Simms Wading Room.

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