Posted: Sat 01/03/09 7:13 pm Post subject: Nymphing
I actually enjoy this post. Especially since you say, "I always fish dries." I think its cool that you are wondering about nymphing and interested in it; and not just another long line of "I Only Dry Fly Fish" guys. The funny thing is that to this day; I still absolutely believe that nymphing was/is the biggest learning curve and one of the most rewarding methods of fly fishing for me. Everyone has their opinion, and here is mine. Dry fly fishing is pretty easy because you see the fish rising, you see your fly and its all very visual. Streamer fishing is a very small step away from fishing with a conventional lure .. bascially emulate a baitfish and/or piss off a fish and he crushes it. Certainly both of those methods present many variations of complexities and I am by no means saying they are easy. I am simply saying that NYMPHING, in a river system, took many years to feel comfortable with and, as far as trout/salmon/steelhead species, its almost an indisputable that nymphing produces big numbers of fish compared to the other methods. But, if not done correctly, nymphing often produces zero fish. To this day, I still am learning much about nymphing and understanding what goes on UNDER the water and they entire world of LIFE of insect activity that resides BELOW the surface. But, I can offer you what I have learned to date. And, all of what I have learned, has been from various guys on this site. So .. let me try to do it as simple as possible. Here goes. Let me talk steelhead, because if you can nymph steelhead effectively .. than you can nymph trout very well. And let's talk fishing with an EGG pattern because with nymphing, i think its important to understand the importance of DEAD/DRAG free drift .. no different than when you are dry fly fishing.
1. Eggs don't swim. So your drift needs to be natural. No swing. No drag.
2. Regardless of water depth (unless unusually deep) I alway fish essentially the same basic setup. Fly line - exactly 9 feet of straight 12 pound fluorcarbon - very small barell swivel - 2 or 3 feet of tippet - fly.
3. small split shot(s) upove barrel swivel so no slippage - or tie a tag off the barrel swivel (2 inches long) with spllit shots on the tag (be sure to tie a knot at end of tag, so split(s) don't sllip off.
4. Cast WAY UPSTREAM
5 Mend and control line. so that no DRAG is pulling the nymphs in an unnatural fasion.
6. BANG! I'll hook most of my fish when the indicator is infront of me .. the further downstream the indicator gets the less likely a hookup - and very little on the swing. (this does not apply if i am downstream nymphing .. but that's not relavent here)
So, you might say -- that sounds easy. It is and isn't. The trick for me was realizing that when I throw a cast way upstream having just the right amount of weight .. the PERFECT amount weight is key .. because let's think of the EGG .. the egg is going to be the LIGHTEST part of the system .. so, regardless of the size leader/tippet (except spring creeks and super clear water) the FLY will be presented first as the "setup" drifts downstream. So, much like swinging .. I have found that, in general, when fished like this .. leader/tippet size is not all that important (within reason) because the fly is coming downstream first.
FINALLY - The most problem I had and I still to this day see that guys have is 2 things ..actually 3... actually 4.
1. Not casting far enough upstream.
2. Too much weight or too little weight
3. Habitually swinging the nymph rig
4. TOO SHORT of leader
Just this past year, i was out west fishing with a bunch of really good trout fisherman (actually jason was one of them .. and the guy who taught me how to nymph) in water that was 3/4 feet deep (on average) ... I kid you not, we were lighting fish up and other guys on the river were just doing so .. so .. Here's the kicker. I was not even doing all that great compared to them .. and thats when one of them (walter) told me .. how long is your total setup (referring to distance from indicator to fly) ? I said "I don't know 10 maybe 11 feet?" He said, "Lengthen it, I am fishing 15 feet." .. I did that .. and bingo .. I was hooking fish left and right. So, just like when DRY FLY FISHING to super picky trout and you need a long dead drag free drift. This is best achieve with a long leader right? Of course, this enables you to get a long dead drag free drift with a dry fly. The SAME IS TRUE for nymphing.
Hope this helps. I know there are a lot of good nymphers on this site (joey, kory, jason, lunchbox, waterwhippa, etc...) .. If I missed something or said something wrong .. I am sure they can correct me .. or add to something I might have missed ..
Have fun .. its very rewarding when you finally feel really comfortable nymphing and it changes from throwing a rig out there and hoping for the best .. and doing it right, getting a bunch of fish and feeling comfortable with the technique .. when that happens, you will think to yourself, "Oh my god, I can't believe I hadn't been doing this all of these years." .. But, then like everything else, you will get bored of nymphing .. and go back to dries .. then bored of that and move to stremaers .. than back to nymphs .. so ultimately, its just another tool .. and another fun method .. but, one of the most effective methods for trout/steelhead, in my opionion.
Posted: Sat 01/03/09 8:00 pm Post subject: thanks for the help but a few questions??
where do i place the strike indicator
12 pound for trout doesnt that seem alot(for trout)
how much weight
and how should i attach the mono just a a not
and examples of your personal favorite nymphs wouldnt hurt
nice description jeremy..I enjoy nymphing for the fact that it is a very effective way to catch fish. but it amazes me how it can go from very productive to nada once a hatch starts. For example yesterday I was fishing the Frying Pan River in basalt CO and was doing very well with small midge nymphs I then soo started to see fish sipping bugs on the surface as well as emergers. being lazy I stuck with the nymph set up and got maybe 1 or 2 fish then fianally switched to dries and started back to catching fish. Sorry to ramble......here is my set up.
-I will generally have a 9-15 foot leader (depending on the water) but never less than 9 feet.
- I will attach about a foot of tippet to the end my leader with a surgeons knot. At the end of the tippet will be my first fly.
- Above the knot is where I will put my split shot. The know will prevent your weight from slipping.
- Off the bend of my first fly I will tie another foot or so of tippet. This is where i will attch my second fly.
- My fly selections vary but I generally will put a bigger nymph pattern as my lead fly and trail a smaller pattern behind. example - prince nymph followed by a micro may fly nymph. Pick up a rock and see what going on under water to make your decision. Often time flipping ocer a rock is a big help in picking your fly pattern.
- Indicator (there are alot of them - I have become partial to the thingamabobbers) goes about a foot - 2 feet below the end of your fly line. I will adjust it ocasionally but not very oftern. If I am nymphing shallow water i will just high stick it and go by feel.
Like jeremy said the object is to get your flies to maintain a drag free presentation throughout your drift. Your mending is important in that process. One mend up stream dosent always do it. Sometimes multiple mends up or down stream are required to keep your flies drag free. This is something that youll have to keep trying until you get your own groove.
Ocasionally I will let my flies swing at the end of my drift to mimic my flies emerging.
When the indicator goes down jiggles does anything other than travel normal I try to set down stream. this will almost alway ensure you a hookset in the corner of the fishes mouth.
I hope some of this helps..I am still learning everytime I go out and thats what keeps it fun. Dont get frusturated and keep the faith.
Hi Scott, I fish in the early part of the season on fast flowing rocky streams for sea run Brown Trout here in Newfoundland. It took me a long time to get the hang of fishing with nymphs . I finally found the magic touch and I would say my catch rate went up in leaps and bounds.
I fish a two nymph rig on a 5 to 6 foot leader with a sinking line. I do not usually use a strike indicator but got used to watching the line where it entered the water. I would increase the length of the leader as the season progressed and the water got lower and clearer. I would cast 45 degrees upstream and raise the rod as the line drifted downstream and then lower the rod as it went past. I found that it paid to let the flies hang in the current before casting again as fish sometimes followed the nymphs downstream . The nymphs I found best were tied on size 10 long shank hooks. The Hares Ear and Prince nymphs worked well for me .
I would recommend reading the book Nymph Fishing for Larger Trout by
Charles Brooks. I learned a lot from this book. Good Luck
Being a successful nymph fisherman is largely a factor of 2 things- drift and leader set up. And these two things go hand in hand. If you are nymphing heavy, broken water and getting flawless drifts with just a single tiny split shot, you still arent going to be productive. Even with good drifts, that light rig is going to get pushed around by all the faster water in the upper half of the water column and never make it to the slower water cushion near the bottom of the water column where the fish are going to be holding. The water near the bottom of the water column is only moving half the speed of the water near the surface and this is where the fish will be holding most of the time, depending on the activity of the insects. Trout are efficient little creatures. They will usually come up when the food source is prevalent enough to get nutritional gain by expending the calories it takes to hold in the faster water (water temperature is probably the biggest variable). Keep adding weight until you are certain that you are touching the bottom now and again. By using straight tippet instead of a tapered leader, you can get down better with less weight. The thinner diameter throughout will give you a faster sink rate with the same amount of weight. No offense scottie but that is why I don't like nymphing with a sinking line. Sinking line is much thicker than tippet, therefore more adversly affected by the complexity of currents. In just 15-20 feet, the current varies in speed severaly times between the tippet of your rod and the flies. Each variation in current speed will affect the drift of your flies and create drag throughout the drift, regardless of how small that amount of drag maybe. Unless you are purposely swinging flies (such as imitating emerging insects), drag is never a good thing when deep water nymphing. This is exactly why you need to mend a floating fly line. When the line has sunk, it cannot be mended effectively.
Another thing to consider is how to mend your fly line. I think the problem some anglers have is they mend upstream ALL the time, regardless of the water they are fishing. Upstream drag is no better than downstream drag. Drag is drag. If you are fishing faster water across slower water (think fishing a current seam across an inside eddy), you need a downstream slack line mend to keep the flies drifting naturally. Once the slack in the line is taken up, your flies will stall, and then lift to the surface. Hold your flies downstream of you on a tight line and that is exactly what your flies look like when the slack runs out. Lift your line out of the water to break surface tension and roll it right at the indicator (sometimes several times) to keep the flies dead drifting down deep. My first mend is usually an upstream mend to create slack which will help get the flies to sink faster, and then after that, the water should dictate which direction you should mend and how strong or weak your mends should be. Bellies in the line should be your enemy.
Just like Joey, I also like the Thingamabobbers. I used balloons for years but the TMB'ers are a lot easier to work with and re-useable. They hold up a lot of weight much better than yarn or corkies. (for you guys that like to bounce, (very guilty myself) they now have a big 1.5" version out now which should be awesome when you're running like 4 or 5 3/0's in high water.
Sorry to ramble on but its just too damn cold to fish today (even ice fish! -27 on the lake yesterday). Hope this helps.
Posted: Mon 01/05/09 6:48 pm Post subject: the flytyinfreaks foolproof method!
Alrighty then! here we go again I have posted this technique and method in forums here and over in Europe so I am stoked to get to share it with you nymphin maniacs! Rio twisties are the next step in strike indication. I used to use Bolles float right and other yarn style indicators for high sticking the high sierra streams near my house. I ran across a fellow fly fisherman one day and he was using these little green knots on his line and was nailing the fish left and right. I watched this guy catch and release 4 or 5 nice size rainbows and a couple of browns in a matter of 30-45 minutes as he worked his way upstream. When I caught up to him and asked about his rigging method he showed me the little green knots ( spongy fly line with a small wire inserted along the core) and explained what made them work. You use two 1 1/2" sections, each twisted on to your leader about 4 - 6 " apart. They are buoyant but don't ride on the surface, just under it (anywheres from 1-3 ft.) You pay attention to how they ride as they pass through the slot. Dead drift and the 2 indicators ride straight up and down, any strike or nudge which is transmitted into change in the vertical orientation of the indicators and you set the hook with a nice downstream set. I am still working on the method but my hook-up rate has increased noticeably. I have found that instead of a tapered leader a 4-6 ft section of 3 or 4x tippet run to the first fly which is ussually a big wieghted stonefly pattern, followed by a 1-2 ft dropper with a small UNweighted nymph.
Very interesting answers about the ninphing world that hase been resumed very compressed and very well. anogh to make all those nimphing books aut there seam like too many words. But I would like to add a nimphing technique that has grasped just lately the western world, this is the "chek nimph". This method obviesly comes from the Check Republic and it hase been the secret to the Checks winning for the last 7 times (or something outragious like that) the world championships. This is a long rod short cast tecnique without strike indicators. The trick is countinuosly keepin the tension between the flie or flies an the tip of the rod. It seams weard but the trick is the quantity of muvements that you can make that will exite a trout. You cast only the length of the leader with max of 2 feet of line out, wich means that you are standing not more than 16, 17 feet from the fish. cast upstream and mend to let the flies sink (wich by the way are mostly with tungston heads), then raise the rod and muve the tip down the current just down stream o the flies keeping a slight bend in the line that enters the water. This small belly is what alerts you to strike when it tenses up. Some fisherman like to use a colored nylon on the top of their leader to make the strikes more visible. I realize that it seams a little too mechanical but is the most feeling fish /fisherman that I have experienced, with little twists of your rist you can make the nimphs dance as they come down the current. I would just like to do it as well as the Checks do.
I thoght the same thing up to a copple of years ago, then I changed my mind. Its like with streamer fishing, at first I thoght it was all about swinging flyes all day. than I learned it was much more than that and today its one of my favorite tecniques.
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