When we weren't fishing dries in Montana, which was often during the day, I went with a few good old standby nymph patterns. The Serendipity (the original brown style with a claret head), LaFontaine's sparkle pupa, and the standard Pheasant Tail nymph. The Pheasant Tail outfished them all, as it usually does on the Madison River in July. It does a great job of imitating most of the smaller mayfly nymphs that inhabit the river, thus it works great when fished with confidence.
Here's a well-chewed one that took a bunch of fish one windy afternoon at the Slide. I fished it straight upstream as I walked the bank, never casting it more than 5-6 feet off the bank. Most of my casts were only a foot or two off the bank, and many of the fish I took I was sight fishing to. For such a simple pattern, it really work wonders and it very durable as you can see. I took over a dozen fish on this fly and could probably take another dozen or more before it came undone from those little razor blade teeth trout keep in their jaws....that is, if I didn't loose it first on the bottom or a tree branch.
Tie some up and fish them. They are just as effective in the East as they are out West. The entire fly is tied with pheasant tail fibers and fine copper wire. I do use thread to tie it, but the original tied by Frank Sawyer used the copper wire to bind the feathers. Both versions work well.