09/29/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives (Little BWOs)
2.    Mahogany Duns
3.    Little Yellow Quills (
Heptagenia Group)
4.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
5.    Needle Stoneflies
6.    Slate Drakes
7.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
8.    Grasshoppers
9.    Ants (includes Flying Ants)
10.  Beetles
11.  Craneflies
12.  Great Brown Autumn Sedge

More On Fishing Nymphs
I  received a pile of email about yesterday's article on nymphs, so I'll add some more
points. Just keep in mind these are random thoughts and not very well organized, but I
guess your use to that from me. Each time I opened an email, I expected to see some
controversial opinions about what I wrote yesterday, but surprisingly, the responses
consisted of more questions about nymphs. In general, they just wanted more
information. By the way, in reading what i wrote yesterday (I rarely edit anything), I
noticed I mentioned "tandem rig" when I really meant "dropper rig", or using a dry fly
with the nymph dropped down below the dry fly.

One thing I noticed just after finishing yesterday's article, is that I didn't mention
getting a drag-free drift. I always like to do that when i'm talking to someone about
fishing nymphs because I usually get a funny look from whomever I'm talking to. Most
anglers think a drag-free drift is only relevant to fishing dry flies. There is a difference
in how a fly that is suppose to imitate a nymph should differ from a dry fly.
A real
nymph usually doesn't drift at all. It crawls along the bottom.
Although that's the
normal thing, there's one thing that probably turns trout away from a fake nymph more
than anything, and that's a nymph imitation (fly) that's drifting faster than the water it's
in. Nymphs can wobble an wiggle their way to the surface to hatch, and swimming
nymphs can dart about short distances like minnows, but they don't swim downstream
faster than the current.

When your nymph imitation is below the surface of fast flowing water, the fast water
near the surface often results in pulling the nymph downstream faster than the water
the nymph is drifting in is flowing. Most of the time, fast water consist of the water on
or near the surface. The only time is isn't is when the bottom is very level with no
obstruction (such as rocks) in it. I haven't seen any water like that in the Smokies.
What I'm getting to, is that there's always slower moving water beneath the surface of
most fast flowing water, even in the runs or riffles. Every rock in the water creates
currents of different speeds. There's calm water pockets in fast water streams and
even water that flows in the opposite direction of the stream, or eddies. When you're
fishing a nymph in fast water, the pressure of the water on the fly line (if it's in the
water) and the leader and tippet, that's applied by the fast surface water, often moves
the fly near the bottom at a faster rate of speed than the water the fly is in. This is
completely unnatural as well as different from anything the trout sees except maybe a
minnow swimming downstream.

When your high stick'in, this is less of a factor than when your drifting a fly using a
strike indicator, tandem rig or even free lining the nymph.  You can control the speed
of the fly much better when your high stick'in because the fly is in more of a direct line
below the leader. The fly line is usually completely above the water. It's the same thing
when your fishing nymphs using the Czech method. You're able to control the speed
of the fly much easier than when the fly is drifting downstream freely with the fast
surface currents dragging the fly along. This is something you want to avoid.

If anything, a real nymph is moving slower than the water because it's crawling on the
bottom, or just holding still. It's never moving downstream faster than the water it's in
is flowing. Anglers most often control the speed of the drift of the fly by mending their
fly line and keeping the fast surface current from pulling, or dragging the fly line and
leader.
In other words, the nymph should drift drag free.

Getting back to what I wrote about yesterday, when you are fishing without an
indicator or dropper rig, you have to constantly adjust the speed of the nymph
imitation to keep it moving slow along the bottom, not allowing any surface currents to
drag the fly. In most cases, the fly is in slower moving water very near fast water,
depending on which type of nymph your trying to imitate. Even so, the surface water is
still moving along rather well. The only exception is when you have the fly in calm
pockets and even then, the water the fly line and leader crosses over is moving and
tending to drag the fly.

There's two basic ways you control this.
One is by mending the fly line and the
other is by making slack line cast.
By far, the slack line cast is the preferred
method. That's because anytime your mending the fly line, you are disturbing the
water to some extent and taking a chance on spooking trout.

Mending a fly line, is in essence "fixing" a cast you've just made. The best
solution is to make a slack line cast and not have to "fix" it. In some cases, it takes
both a slack line cast and mending the line. I almost always use a slack line cast.
When I'm fishing a nymph without a strike indicator or dropper rig, I always use slack
line presentations. I'm not going to get into the details of how you do that. I have
written previous articles about slack line cast that you can look up under the articles
section of the site. I'm just pointing out that in order to fish a nymph correctly, or
maybe I should say the best way, you should make slack line cast. These are
sometimes called "messed up" or "crooked" cast.

For those of you who may not be familiar with a slack line cast, it's a cast where the fly
line, leader and tippet, and sometimes just the leader and tippet, and sometimes just
the tippet, lands on the water with slack in it. When you make a straight line cast, or
straighten out the fly line, leader and tippet out during the cast, the fly begins to
instantly drag. This is true when your fishing dry flies or nymphs. You want to avoid
that.
Slack line cast in essence, mends the line in the air. Examples of slack line
cast are reach cast, pile cast and curve cast. There are several others but the most
used one is the simple reach cast. They are essential in making good presentations
with dry flies and nymphs. In general, it provides a few seconds for the fly to drift
without being pulled by the pressure of the current on the fly line and/or leader.

Copyright 2011 James Marsh