Fly fishing nymphs

Nymphing Let’s face it. Fly fishing nymphs isn’t the most glamorous form of fly fishing patterns. I often refer to it as bait fishing with a fly rod, especially when you find yourself with a San Juan Worm, an indicator (yeah it’s a bobber) and lead hanging off the end of your rod. However when done right it is downright effective and fun. Equipment I like to fish longer rods when nymphing especially on large western rivers. Rods in the 8’6” to 90” or 10’0” length rods in 5 – 7wt are ideal for casting nymph rigs aka “junk”, controlling your drift and mending your line. Longer belly fly lines are ideal for mending and controlling line. All of the major manufacturers make specific nymph lines specially suited for indicator fishing. My indicator and leader choices are always dependent upon my nymphing trout fishing flies and fly fishing location.

Fly Fishing Nymphs with Indicators

Your indicator is really personal preference, be it yarn, cork, foam or plastic. I, like many others, like to use the Thingamabobbers. They float well, are relatively easy to cast, are easy to see on the water, and are very sensitive, detecting very subtle takes. When it comes to leaders, there are a few choices, depending on where and how you are fishing. I always run monofilament leaders to fluorocarbon tippet. This is a personal choice of mine. Achieving Your Drag Drift Presentation is everything. In the case of fly fishing nymphing, a flawless drag free drift will result in fish to the net. Speaking in general terms, the nymph fly fisher is trying to keep their flies on the bottom and in the strike zone for as long as possible. By using the proper rod angle, controlling the right amount of slack on the water and precise mending the angler can present their flies drag free and efficiently cover their water. The fluorocarbon tippet provides stealth and helps with getting the flies down quickly. When wade fishing with this rig I always adjust my indicator placement on the leader according to type of run I’m in and the water depth. On even riffles and smooth wide runs it is not as crucial to move your indicator as it is when you are fishing seams and drop offs. There have been countless times when a client has stepped out of the boat to fish a spot with no success and as soon as I adjust the indicator the same drifts produce results.

Fly Fishing Nymphs

Fly Fishing Nymphs

Fly Fishing Nymphs and Weights

The same rules apply with your split shot and fly selection–small adjustments can lead to great success. A conscious angler is always adjusting their rig and technique. Right Angle Nymphing Right angle nymphing is not as common as the traditional nymphing rig, but still involves the same terminal tackle, just rigged differently. I find that this technique works the best on Freestone Rivers and rivers with fast current, slots, seams and pockets. By using shorter, straight line leaders tied 90 degrees off your indicator; your flies get down to the fish quicker in the type of water previously mentioned. I don’t fish this at deep depths because of the use of the straight non tapered leader the rig is more difficult to turn over. Dry – Dropper With a dry dropper rig you are ultimately using your dry fly to suspend your nymph at a specific depth in the water column. The dry fly doubles as a strike indicator. On most freestone rivers a dry dropper rig is used to search for fish along the bank and provide the fish with two offerings to feed opportunistically on. On tail waters the same technique is used especially during hopper time, but the dry-dropper technique is also used during technical sight fishing in skinny, shallow water.  Always try fly fishing nymphs on various waters during your trips and you should see some remarkable results.