Trout fishing advice please [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Trout fishing advice please

10-22-2006, 04:52 PM
What is the proper way to fish a very small nymph? Today I went fishing in the Flatbrook, and had zero luck. I'm in the very begining stages of fly fishing so i'm not exactley sure i was doing it right. My rod is a 9 foot 5 weight with wf floating line. I was using a very small nymph, so i put a light splitshot about a foot above the fly and had a strike indicator about 2 feet above that. I'm not sure if any of it was a good set up, but casting seemed way harder. Almost every cast the tippet would fall right on itself. Well any advice would be a big help, I still havent cought my first fish on a fly rod.


10-22-2006, 06:30 PM

Well, it all depends. What kind of water we're you fishing on flatbrook, pools, runs or riffles? What was the depth of this stream? Were there any rising fish in your travels? If I go to a new stream I will hit the riffle sections first and fish a short line and fish across current and cover all the likely holding areas. I'll use split shot only if the water is really up. You're right, casting that rig can be difficult. Personally, I never use indicators but that's always a personal choice. I don't know what you consider a "small nymph" but anything in the 14-18 range represents many subaquatic insects and if the presentation is good you should have some hits. Don't give up!! It takes awhile to learn how to work a nymph. Also, as a general searching pattern a dark (black, brown) nymph will put the odds in your favor.

Good Luck,


10-23-2006, 08:55 AM
Hi Scott
Welcome to fly-fishing. As much as I fly fish for trout I find that nymping is one of the most difficult ways to fish. Casting especially for the novice with weighted nymphs, split shot, and indicators is hard at best. Don't give up nymphing, but try fishing a wet fly or streamer until you get a few fish under your belt. An alternative would be to go out with a good nymph fisherman who is willing to teach you and take only one rod. The right guide can help also.
Good luck

Larry aka Shadfreak

10-23-2006, 12:39 PM
I'll echo what the other guys have said. Nymphing may be the most difficult fly fishing technique out there. If I were you, the first fly I'd try is a woolly bugger. You can fish it all sorts of ways and catch fish since it mimics so many things. You could also try fishing streamers and save the nymphs for when you have a bit more experience. Either of these types of flies are much easier to fish.

If you want to stick with nymphing, here's a couple of tips. First of all, fishing a rig with a split shot plus an indicator is a recipe for tangles and tough casting unless you have a good amount of casting experience. Get some bead head or weighted nymphs. Second, as a general rule, you should have twice the water depth between your fly and the indicator. In slower water, you can shorten this, but never to less than ~1.5 times the water depth. In faster water, you may have to go up to 3 times the water depth (or more). Nymphs are fished most effectively when they're bouncing along the rocks at the bottom. You should expect them to hang up from time to time or else they're not getting down deep enough. In that case, you need to either use heavier flies or lengthen the distance between your fly and the indicator.

10-23-2006, 02:22 PM
Try roll casting that indicator setup to eliminate the tangling problem. I can't remember the last time I made a back cast with an indicator and shot.

10-23-2006, 07:23 PM
Hi Scotth - Nymphing is relatively easy as a technique, BUT it requires the correct cast to start with. All summer long I've been guiding Ffshers who are traditional dry fly casters, so guess what happens when they get set up with nymphs? They use the same cast as with a dry fly! It just will not work! When nymph fishing, typically with weighted flies and/or tanden flies and/or a strike indicator, the best cast that you can use is a WIDE OPEN LOOP type of cast. The more weight and length of leader you have - the wider & open a loop you need. I call it the windshiled washer cast to illustrate the path that the rod tip takes, where the tip of the rod goes, so does the line, so flip-flop the tip and the line will give you a great big loop in which it is most difficult to tangle the rig. This will avoid most tangles and allow you to do an appropriate mend once the flies hit the water and the line is about to hit the water. A litlle practice is all you need. Now, It is an ugly type of cast, the type that you have worked real hard to get rid of, the one your instructor told you to get rid of, remember, trout fishing is elegant and tight loops like you see in magazines & videos is what this is all about. BUNK! Not when nymphing, the most beautiful nymph cast is the wide open loop, with a big splash of the extended leader (weighted flies do splash). Now do the same with small nymphs (size 16 or smaller) as you would with larger ones, just remember, a smaller fly will take longer to get down to the fish, so cast further upstream from the fish lie with smaller flies. Hope this helps.

10-23-2006, 09:49 PM
Nymphing is relatively easy as a technique
Do you really consider it relatively easy for a beginner? As compared to fishing pretty much any other kind of fly, I don't see how it's easy...

Dble Haul
10-24-2006, 08:28 AM
Compared to dry fly fishing, nymphing is much easier for a beginner. Drag is less critical with nymph fishing, indicators can be used to detect strikes, and a direct match to a hatch isn't usually necessary.

10-24-2006, 05:36 PM
Hi T-J,
Mark has noted the most obvious issues about nymphing for beginners & anyone else for that matter and others have also made very good comments on this thread. I would repeat my earlier point, the actual casting stroke is usually easier to master for nymphing Vs. any other type of fly cast(ing). The cast is almost always a short one, typically not more than 15 feet away & upstream + a mend to allow the fly to sink. That's what I call easy casting. Now some of the difficulty may be in "fishing the nymph" and recognizing a strike, even with a strike indicator. The most important aspect of "fishing" (Vs casting) a nymph is to always stay in touch with your fly. That means, to me, lots of "touching" the fly (just slightly lift the rod tip) any and everytime you think you think the fly is not moving naturally and that does come with experience since you can't see the fish or the fly but if you stay in touch, you will quickly learn to set the hook at the right time and catching will be in the cards. One other element of nymphing is to avoid drag since any drag on the line and/or indicator will cause the leader and fly to rise, so follow the fly with the rod tip as it drifts in front of you ) the drift may only be for 5-8 feet) and then cast again, but as Mark has said, even if you make a mistake, drag on a nymph is nowhere as critical as it would be with a dry. Typically, the presentation to a potential fish may involve 6 to 10 passes in the same place, then move down 4-5 feet and od it again and many beginners that I've taught have a problem with that so they tend to fish the nymph more like a streamer and they want to move along too quickly away from a potentially productive riffle or pocket (bucket/hole etc) of water. Nymph fishing probably requires more patience than any other presentation but I think it is easier to do and it is by far the most productive in terms of "catching" since 90% of what a trout eats lies underwater. I've had a number of clients who give up too quickly and sometimes I'll ask them to go in again and they catch a fish, just goes to show that sometimes a few more passes would/could have gotten them the same fish.
Ok so nymphing is not as elegant as delicate dry fly presentations and does not require long line presentation like a streamer, but that does not make it difficult.

10-25-2006, 11:54 AM
One of the advantages of learning to fish nymphs as new fly fisher is that you less to UNLEARN. It requires less precision ( in some cases) and distance ( in some cases) than fishing dries or streamers. The issues that new casters often have are overcome by having more weight or drag on their leader rather than less- with a weighted set-up and indicator, it is much easier to "feel" the rod load. The muscle memory of the load does great things for casting with other tactics. My $0.02.:smokin:

10-30-2006, 12:58 PM
One person mentioned mending your line, this is one of the most critical parts of nymph fishing because it allows a drag free drift. Another thing is to try to work your way up stream if possible, although this isn't possible with some access points. This keeps you behind the fish therefore not spooking them. Also, don't be afraid of letting your fly swing at the end of your drift. I caught the biggest brown of the year on my only local trout stream swinging a prince nymph at the end of its drift, and the adult fish in this river are very hard to catch. I usually fish a 9 ft. leader with appropriate tippet for depth and the clarity of the water. when fishing in Tenn. last spring I was running 3 to 4 foot of tippet. Whether using an indicator or not it is important to watch the indicator or the end of your fly line very carefully, any pause should be checked with the lift of your rod. Another skill that would be valuable is the reach cast, but I'm no expert there.
Another cool thing about nyphing is the entomology aspect. Flip rocks and wood in the area you are fishing to see what insects are present, some guys even carry a small sifting net to check the silt/sand in the river.... good luck!

11-14-2006, 08:50 PM
You've already had a lot of replys, but heres one more.My favorite nymphing setup is as follows:
-Fly indicator near the top of the leader (a good rule of thumb for newbies is to keep your leader about the length of your rod and to add tippet when it gets shorter)
- A hare's ear bead head or a scud
-A midge bead head on a dropper hanging down from the first fly.
-I would add one or two small split shot and try it
-If your indicator doesnt good down very often, im not hitting the bottom and I would add one more split shot.
-Since you are hitting the bottom often, you should check for any river moss or other plant stuff and remove it.
I usually used this in water that was between waist to knee deep. If it was deeper or was running fast, I put more weight on.

My best tip for someone just starting out, hire a guide for a half day or full day. You get some one on one lessons and they show you some good holes to go back to. You will learn how to fly fish and the money you spend will pay off very fast.

Have fun