Posts Tagged ‘nymph fishing


Fly Tying: Nymph’s Color Palette by Tim Barker

Unique color assortment of nymphs by Tim Barker at Planet Trout.

You have to have the imagination to conceive unique combinations of colors and materials. Then must have the self discipline to complete the numbers of flies and maintain consistent outcomes. Very nice work isn’t it….and unique?


Fly Fishing: ‘Water Loading’ Heavy Nymphs & Sling

Stonefly Nymph Box (SwittersB)

Ah, May/June! Chasing the Salmon Fly and Golden Stone crawl outs and hatches. Fishing your nymphs on the bottom where they crawl toward shore or below the rapids, where they have been dislodged and been carried into slightly deeper water. It is a fun Western U.S. event and interesting to witness the actual emergence (crawling onto shore/emergence from the nymphal body).  

This action will carry on into July depending upon water temps. The California Stones (Salmon Fly) will end first and the Golden Stones will linger longer. It is a chuck it-sling it-stay tight to the fly-short line-drift affair. You can and probably should attach a second fly to the Stonefly (smaller nymph or a wet fly). Just remember, to avoid tangles, to think of your cast as a lob, open loop affair rather than trying to produce a standard cast with a tighter loop. Tangles and hooks into the back of the neck may result. Some will advocate throwing a longer line, and indeed sometimes you will have to chuck and duck and mend to get to a prime lie. But, I would advise the beginner to fish shorter and tighter to the fly with only  a mend or two at most.  Casting a heavy nymph by loading rod with water tension…


Fly Tying & Fishing Instruction

I was stuck in beautiful Eugene, Oregon and ended up in a Borders book store. There were, surprisingly, a scant dozen or so books of fishing. Surprising because Eugene sets amongst several excellent fishing venues within minutes of town.

I came upon a nice book by John Barr entitled Barr Flies. It is a glossy, large sized book with great visuals and a bit spendy. I liked the S-B-S tutorials on several nymph patterns and  I bought the book. I couldn’t fish, so I perused the Barr book and planned my tying to incorporate some of Barr’s patterns.

Another excellent book is Rick Hafele’s Nymph Fishing Rivers & Streams. Hafele provides a gazillion interesting facts about insects that trout eat and how to fish them.


Fly Tying & Fishing: Frank Sawyer “Take Down The Balloons”

Sawyer Pheasant Tail Nymph (the daily fly paper blog)

One man’s opinion, albeit a pretty noteworthy man, FRANK SAWYER, that the basic bug shape is all that is necessary and that more important is the presentation…the imparting of swimming or locomotion or drifting, that the bug would make. Sawyer believes all those materials are a matted mess and of little value in suggesting life and triggering a response. Hmm, not sure when his piece was written. But, dare I say I disagree. Yes, presentation is quite important, perhaps most important at times. But, today’s patterns and materials may sometimes be a matted mess when pulled out of the water (marabou, ostrich etc.) but they come alive once back in the water. Every little bit helps to suggest life, movement or struggling.Those that totally collapse are not the right materials.

“…the point I wished to make when I started this article – which simply is to question the need to make artificials with wings and legs and which to us look like flies, when what the fish expect to see are tyings which conform very closely to the form of nymphs.  Why not construct nymphal patterns in the first place and then fish them in an imitation of nymph behaviour?”

“Years ago I came to the conclusion that no fibres are necessary to suggest legs on artificial nymphs for, as I explained in my book “Nymphs and the Trout,” when nymphs swim, their legs are held in streamline form, and therefore should not be noticed by fish, or if so, only as part of the body.  Time has proved this to be true for today the “Sawyer” patterns are used throughout the world and many thousands of fish have been deceived by them.

Nymphs tied in true nymphal form are much easier to construct than any patterns of wet-flies, and though perhaps the finished articles are not so spectacular to look at from the human point of view, it is the fish that must act as the judges.”
Mr. Sawyer is akin to the person that comes to the birthday party, looks about and says, “nonsense, take down the balloons. Put away those silly hats and whistles. A cake and one candle will do.” Pure, streamlined responses like the flies. Can you say boring if that is all there is? Efficient…yes. Interesting…No. Perhaps my intuitive ADD response, I have never cared much for the simplest Sawyer Pheasant Tail Nymph, but then I never cared much for the opposite end, the bedraggled Hare’s Ear Nymph. Oh my. Perhaps somewhere in the middle? Life impressions plus presentation? Relax..just a bit of tongue in cheek. I hate those big mylar balloons too.

American PTN (Mike Hughes NZ)


Fly Fishing: Nymphing Setups (Keep It Simple At First)

Darlene Klein-Dolby on the Metolius River (M. P-A)

The beginning fly fisher is quickly advised to not only fish the dry fly. Statistics are thrown out that 80-90% of a fish’s diet is comprised of subsurface fair (nymphs/emergers). All this is meant to increase your odds of a hookup. An additional area that effects success is the setup or rigging of the nymph(s). A little time to study the rigging possibilities and match them to the conditions before you are on the stream is time well spent.

A couple things to consider: Adjust your setup as needed. Assuming you won’t stand all day in one area while fishing, you will encounter different water depths, speeds, hatches…that will require you, or should require you, to adjust your rigging/setup. Changing distances between indicator and flies (fly); adding weight; changing fly patterns, shortening the casting distance, raising or high sticking, whatever is required to adjust to the changing conditions as you move about is often ignored as the angler stays with the same rig.

As a beginner, keep it simple. As you encounter other anglers you will see techniques different than what you are using or were told to use. Different setups, different flies, different presentations. That is good…more than one way to skin the proverbial cat. (Did anyone actually skin a cat?)

So, remember these observed new ways and try them. They may or may not be appropriate to the waters at hand, but tuck them away into the arsenal and remember how to rig them. An easy example is a two fly nymphing rig (sometimes 3 flies). I rarely use it for streams. Almost always on lakes. (Check the laws…I was comfortable fishing two fly rigs in B.C. until someone admonished me an educated me re B.C. laws on one fly only). Two flies theoretically ups the odds. But, for a beginner you want to learn to cast with a more open, lob cast  to allow for the turnover of fly, weight, indicator. Two flies can get tangled until you perfect a more open loop. Once that is done go to two flies and keep your cast shorter. Actually, go short more often. Don’t be tempted to be nymphing with 30′ of line out. Go shorter most often. And, as they say strike on any hesitation of line or if you use one, the indicator. Purist abhor nymphing let alone indicators…whatever…use an indicator/sighter of some sort. Experiment without an indicator too.

Nymphing is a lot more work than dry fly fishing…yet, it is a technique you must employ if you want to up your odds of an encounter. When the dry fly~emerger action commences know how to de-rig that nymph set up in a timely manner to get into the hatch.


Joan McCreery on the Metolius River

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