On the Fly column: Nymphing basics
November 26, 2018
Our fall and early winter fishing season is in full swing. At no other time of year can such a multitude of fishing styles be effective on the water. Blue wing olive mayflies are still hatching, providing thrilling dry fly opportunities along with the year's best streamer fishing. Day in and day out though, if you simply wish to pull on a bunch of fish, nymphing will provide you with the most success.
In everyday terms, nymphs are aquatic insects that are still in their underwater stage, not having reached their adult, or flying, stage of life yet. Well over 90 percent of a trout's diet in fall and winter consists of nymphs, which are why these flies are so effective. During fall and early winter, the primary nymph that we most often imitate is a blue wing olive. Despite their small size, the fish focus on these insects because of their wide availability. The analogy we often use is that it's much like eating french fries — you can never eat just one.
A basic nymph setup consists of a 7 ½-foot tapered leader to which we add about 12-18 inches of tippet onto the end of our leader. At the end of that piece of tippet is where we tie on our first nymph. We then add another foot or two of tippet to the bend of the hook of the first fly. We can now tie on and attach our second nymph to the end of that piece of tippet. A split shot (weight) is then crimped onto our leader above our tippet connection using that knot as a stopper to keep our split shot from sliding down. The last step in a basic nymph rig is to then affix a strike indicator (a fly angler's version of a bobber) onto our leader.
The amount of weight used varies depending on the speed and depth of the water being fished. The key here is to use enough weight to have your flies bouncing along the bottom without hanging up. The placement of our strike indicator will also vary, but as a general rule of thumb should be placed at 1 ½ to 2 times the depth of the water being fished. Once fishing, be sure to keep your setup moving with the same speed of the water.
Give nymphing a try this fall, and relish in your newfound success.
This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.
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