Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
2. Little Winter Stoneflies
Most available/ Near hatching and other types of available food:
3. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
4. Blue Quills (Nymphs)
5. Blue-winged Olives (Nymphs)
Basic Nymphing Using A Strike Indicator
I was talking to a customer on the phone today who said he was a little familiar with fishing dry
flies for trout and top water flies for bream and bass, but that he had never fished nymphs for
trout. I did the best I could over the phone, trying to explain how you rig and fish a nymph but
after hanging up, I wondered just how effective I was at explaining it to him. Knowing he had never
fished a nymph, I knew better than to attempt to tell him how to fish any other way but using a
strike indicator. Even so, I knew I had a problem when he asked what a strike indicator was. When
I answered a "float", and explained it was similar to a crappie or bream float, it did little good.
Sadly, not everyone came up having the opportunity to fish as kids as many of us more mature
(over the hill) guys.
He wasn't the first person who had asked me that question. I run into the same situation quite
often. Trying to explain how you fish a fly you can't see, to fish you can't see, to someone
new at fly fishing for trout over the phone isn't exactly easy. I hung up wondering if he was going
to have a chance at catching a trout on a nymph. Anyway, that came to mind this morning before
my coffee finished perking.
I think controlling the depth of the nymph is the most important thing you deal with when fishing
a nymph. The best way I know how to put it is that if your not touching the bottom of the
stream, your not fishing deep enough.
Casting a nymph rig with enough weight to get the fly down isn't exactly like casting an almost
weightless dry fly. Your really turning over the split shot or weighted nymph itself, not so much the
leader as such. The leader doesn't really have to be tapered to perfection to cast a weighted
If your using a float (strike indicator), the position it is set on your leader controls the depth of the
nymph. There's all sorts of strike indicators on the market. We like our "Perfect Fly" indicators
simply because you can put them on the leader and remove them fast and easy. You can also
adjust the depth fast and easy. Indicators you have to tie and untie to secure them can kink the
leader and become a problem when they need to be removed or adjusted for depth. Whether you
use our Perfect Fly indicators or one of the many others, make sure it's very fast and easy to
adjust it up and down on the leader, and that it doesn't pinch, kink or damage the leader. Also,
make sure it floats well and doesn't move up or down the leader when you don't want it to.
The length of the leader and tippet, from the nymph to the position of the strike indicator, is one
of the things that determines the depth the fly is going to be presented. This setting is simple if
your fishing still water. You want it to be just short of the water depth. Fishing moving water in a
trout stream is an altogether different thing. The speed of the current becomes just as important
as the depth of the water your fishing.
The "rule of thumb" for the setting of the strike indicator is that is should be one and a half
times the depth of the water. That's just great and fine for starting out, but in essence, it's
worthless until you determine if your particular rig is allowing the nymph to just touch the bottom,
instead of drifting a foot or two above the bottom, or dragging on the bottom such as to hang
every rock and twig it slides over. In other words, it not only depends on the depth and speed of
the water, it also depends on the size of the leader material (the larger diameter of the leader and
tippet, the more drag involved), the type of indicator your using, the amount of weight you have
added (split shot), and the size and weight of the fly itself.
In almost every situation, you will need to adjust the setting of the strike indicator to get the fly just
touching the bottom like it should. If your new at nymphing, start out with the one and a half time
the depth rule of thumb and make adjustments from there.
There's two things that can be adjusted - the distance or length the strike indicator is placed from
the fly, and the amount of weight you add. Start out by adjusting the amount of weight. If the
current is very fast, you may need to increase the length of the indicator from the fly rather than
continuing to add more weight. If the current is slow to moderate, you may want to shorten that
length versus lighten the added weight.
I'll continue with this tomorrow.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh