Drew C.

Euro style nymphing

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45 posts in this topic

I’ve been doing it for years now. Frankly it’s my favorite way to trout fish. It’s not effective in every situation though. It’s great for fishing close. It’s also a very effective way to fish fast and skinny water. It’s allows you to have more control of your drift. And because you typically don’t have flyline haning out of your rod, it is the technique of choice on windy days because the thin diameter line is not affected by the wind very much. For me, the leader is the most important piece in euro nymphing. It more important to me than the rod and reel. 
 

It does take a little bit of practice. Once you catch a fish or two, you’ll get it. You’ll begin to learn tricks to help you control your drifts better, and keep your leader taunt. You’ll also learn how to read your leader’s response too. You don’t necessarily want your flies banging on the causing your sighter to keep twitching. Any time your sighters twitch, stop, or stutter, you should he setting the hook. Hooksets are free in this game. You don’t really spook fish with a hook set because there’s no flyline or indicator on the water to make a bunch of noise. If your leader is constantly stuttering and twitching, and there’s nothing there when you set, them you’re fishing too heavy. 
 

Keep at it and don’t give up. Euro nymphing allows me to effectively fish so many places that most people walk past. I’ll send you a PM shortly. 

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My set up was based of some stuff from George Daniel. 10’ rod, sa competition line, leader was several feet of 12-15 mono, ~3’ of yellow stren for a sighter, tippet ring, tippet. 
 

I think I could use a bit longer tippet section and I need a heavier point/anchor fly. I think the fly was my limiting factor. I have a spare spool with this set up so a stream side switch is very easy. 
 

I will tie up some new flies and give it a shot on the Farmington this weekend. 
 

thanks again. 

Edited by Drew C.

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Drew-  here are some of my anchor flies- heavier than a dead minister.

 

The brown nymph has a 5/64 tung bead and 015. wire.  The egg suckers have 1/8 tung beads plus .020 wire.  The thin mint has 1/8 tung bead plus .015 wire.  The thin mint or similar bugger type fly I have found to be super effective as an anchor fly- on the jig hook it doesn't hang up as much and it gets a lot of strikes.  The egg sucker was super productive in the late summer and fall last year for brook trout and salmon, coupled with the squirminator.

brown nymph top.jpg

egg sucker.jpg

thin mint.jpg

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1 hour ago, Matt7082 said:

For me, the leader is the most important piece in euro nymphing. It more important to me than the rod and reel. 
 

It does take a little bit of practice. Once you catch a fish or two, you’ll get it. You’ll begin to learn tricks to help you control your drifts better, and keep your leader taunt. You’ll also learn how to read your leader’s response too. You don’t necessarily want your flies banging on the causing your sighter to keep twitching. Any time your sighters twitch, stop, or stutter, you should he setting the hook. 

What do you look for in a leader? (Ha) I'm currently using the butt end of an old tippet, which i believe is too heavy to effectively feel the nymphs. It's probably equivalent to 20lb mono. 

 

I hear you about bouncing the nymph off the bottom, causing the indicator to jump or pause. I've been just lifting the rod when that happens and it either frees up the nymph or is enough to set the hook. I think i do err on the side of heavier/larger nymphs. 

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7 mins ago, BeachBum818 said:

What do you look for in a leader? (Ha) I'm currently using the butt end of an old tippet, which i believe is too heavy to effectively feel the nymphs. It's probably equivalent to 20lb mono. 

 

I hear you about bouncing the nymph off the bottom, causing the indicator to jump or pause. I've been just lifting the rod when that happens and it either frees up the nymph or is enough to set the hook. I think i do err on the side of heavier/larger nymphs. 

I use a very supple mono for the running portion of my leader, then another piece of mono a bit lighter, and a special two-toned hi-viz mono sighter. All of my leader components have minimal memory. The purpose of low memory mono is so that your leader doesn’t have any coils or ripples to it when it is extended out in front of you, thus allowing you to keep the leader taunt and detect the lightest strikes. It also allows you to extend your cast quite a bit further out in front of you. Because the line is light and supple, it will not cause your leader to hinge on the long casts and drifts. I tie a tippet ring to the bottom of the sighter and add my tippet. Tippet length is a personal preference, but it should be at least equal to the depth you’re fishing. If you know how long your tippet is, you can easily determine how deep your flies are by measuring the distance between your sighter and the water. 

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2 mins ago, Matt7082 said:

I use a very supple mono for the running portion of my leader, then another piece of mono a bit lighter, and a special two-toned hi-viz mono sighter. All of my leader components have minimal memory. The purpose of low memory mono is so that your leader doesn’t have any coils or ripples to it when it is extended out in front of you, thus allowing you to keep the leader taunt and detect the lightest strikes. It also allows you to extend your cast quite a bit further out in front of you. Because the line is light and supple, it will not cause your leader to hinge on the long casts and drifts. I tie a tippet ring to the bottom of the sighter and add my tippet. Tippet length is a personal preference, but it should be at least equal to the depth you’re fishing. If you know how long your tippet is, you can easily determine how deep your flies are by measuring the distance between your sighter and the water. 

 

I think thats the flaw in my rig. Before I start fishing i need to straighten the leader otherwise it just remains coiled and i cant feel a thing. I have Fly Line (usually 6"-14" coming off the rod tip)>perfection loop>14" of 10lb mono for my leader>bloodknot> 12" of multicolored indicator line> (tippet ring)> then 6'-8' of Fluoro as my tippet. 

 

Since the indicator line is the weak link in the system I was thinking of dialing back my leader to 8" of something thinner. No need for 10lb mono when the indicator is like 4lb test. 

 

 

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9 mins ago, BeachBum818 said:

 

I think thats the flaw in my rig. Before I start fishing i need to straighten the leader otherwise it just remains coiled and i cant feel a thing. I have Fly Line (usually 6"-14" coming off the rod tip)>perfection loop>14" of 10lb mono for my leader>bloodknot> 12" of multicolored indicator line> (tippet ring)> then 6'-8' of Fluoro as my tippet. 

 

Since the indicator line is the weak link in the system I was thinking of dialing back my leader to 8" of something thinner. No need for 10lb mono when the indicator is like 4lb test. 

 

 

You want your leader to be long enough so that fly line doesn’t even go through your guides. My leader is about 40’. The weakest link on your leader should be the tippet. The rest of your leader should he substantially heavier than your tippet. 

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I've seen some guys use a euro nymphing leader that includes a built in colored sighter at the tip section. Attach a tippet ring to the sighter.  Then peel off 2 or 3 arms lengths ( about 5-6 feet but this will vary depending on your water- 1.5x depth is what i use) of flurocarbon tippet and tie into the tippet ring.    The end of that is your lead fly.  Add another lighter fly about 18-20 inches above the lead fly with another 6-8 inch length of fluorocarbon. 

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I started Euro nymphing three years ago on a weeklong trout fishing trip to Pennsylvania. Four of us went on the trip and fished the same rivers and streams. One guy was Euro nymphing. I was mostly shortline and indicator nymphing. He consistently out fished us and many day outfished the rest of us combined. We caught some nice fish and had some good days when there was a hatch, but worked harder for our fish.

 

One day, he outfished me nine fish to two fish in a single riffle.  I switched spots with him, fished his flies, etc. but he still outfished me. I caught the two fish using one of his flies on 6x leader. The next day he rigged my rod like his and my catch rate increased dramatically for the last two day of the trip. Here is what I learned (much of it has been already posted in this thread).

 

1) Use heavier flies - The entire theory behind Euro nymphing is to get the fly drifting as naturally as possible with as straight a line as possible from the fly to the rod tip, basically short line nymphing on steroids. Because you are using shorter casts, you have less time for the fly to sink to the bottom and straighten out your leader. You need to get down as fast as possible to maximize your drift.  The flies we were using were weighted with 2.3mm to 3.4mm beads and several wraps of .010"diameter lead wire. Although it may seem like most bead head flies, these are heavier and get down in a hurry. I tried flies with large beads... it did not work the same.

 

2) Use streamlined or smaller flies - When possible use them to get down faster.

 

3) Use the smallest tippet possible - The smaller diameter allows the fly to sink faster and has much less drag when drifting.  We were using primarily 6x and some 5x. I played around with heavier tippet. The lighter tippet made a difference in most locations, though 5x and 6x performance was about the same in some locations. My brain had a little trouble with this at first, since years ago 6X tested well under  2 lbs. Now it tests at well over 3 lbs. As a precaution, I normally use fluoroflex tippet as added protection against any shocks that might stress my knots. I haven't had any issues with the light leader, except with one large trout that was towing me around. I eventually pulled the hook out.

 

4) Adjust your flies weight -  As Mike O. pointed out, you need to adjust how heavy your fly is to get an optimal drift. As he and others pointed out, you was to just brush the bottom, not regularly hang up even for small periods of time. On that first trip, my Buddy and I were fishing the same hole on the last day. I wanted to outfish him.  I started fishing the top of the hole with a SquirmyWorm, and was crushing them. He fished the bottom of the hole. I was outfishing him 12 to 7.  The I lost my one fly that had the light bead. Boom... no more fish on the other two beads sizes, I wasn't hanging up much, but it was enough. I learned that lesson quickly. Change flies as often as you need to.

 

5) Minimize the drag of anything past your rod tip - My next trip I rigged up for Euro nymphing and my buddy was kicking my butt again. He pointed out that my braided sighter was causing a slight bow in the line from the rod tip to the water because of it weights (even though it was slight) and that the wind was catching it and blowing it upstream or downstream more than his sighter. He gave me a length of thin colored mono for my sighter and my catch rate increased immediately.  You can control the first few inches of line outside your rod tip, but beyond that you have less and less control. Use as light a leader/sighter/tippet as possible to minimize any sag between the tip and water. I think my sighter is 8lbs test Cortland.

 

6) Fish areas that you know how to fish already - When I started Euro nymphing, I was still struggling in a lot of areas.  Then I had a revelation. I skipped a lot of water to get to a run that I knew held fish, and was the type of water that I knew how to fish.  I instinctively knew where to cast and how fast the drift should be to catch fish. That confidence allowed me to practice and adjust my technique until I caught fish. I spent 2-3 hours on a very short stretch on one side of the river and was eventually rewarded. Once you perfected your technique in your high confidence area, move to other areas.

 

7) Use high confidence flies - In my previous points I mentioned the SquirmyWormy fly.  When there is not a hatch I used that fly at the beginning because that I new that I should catch at least a few trout with that fly if my techniques was good. If I wasn't catching at least a few trout, I would analyze and correct my technique until I caught fish. Then I could change flies and catch more.  I still love the Squirmy, but have not used it in a while.

 

I keep working on my technique. Someday I may be able to catch up to my buddy.

Edited by crashq

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5 hours ago, Matt7082 said:

You want your leader to be long enough so that fly line doesn’t even go through your guides. My leader is about 40’. The weakest link on your leader should be the tippet. The rest of your leader should he substantially heavier than your tippet. 

Forty foot leader?

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2 hours ago, crashq said:

 

6) Fish areas that you know how to fish already - When I started Euro nymphing, I was still struggling in a lot of areas.  Then I had a revelation. I skipped a lot of water to get to a run that I knew held fish, and was the type of water that I knew how to fish.  I instinctively knew where to cast and how fast the drift should be to catch fish. That confidence allowed me to practice and adjust my technique until I caught fish. I spent 2-3 hours on a very short stretch on one side of the river and was eventually rewarded. Once you perfected your technique in your high confidence area, move to other areas.

 

 

this is going to be part of my plan going forward. There's one spot on the Farmington that I've been fishing that I like. I know it a bit but no where close to 'well'. As I get more comfortable in the spot and learn it better I will try again with a little knowledge/expectations for it.

 

 

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2 hours ago, crashq said:

1) Use heavier flies - The entire theory behind Euro nymphing is to get the fly drifting as naturally as possible with as straight a line as possible from the fly to the rod tip, basically short line nymphing on steroids. Because you are using shorter casts, you have less time for the fly to sink to the bottom and straighten out your leader. You need to get down as fast as possible to maximize your drift.  The flies we were using were weighted with 2.3mm to 3.4mm beads and several wraps of .010"diameter lead wire. Although it may seem like most bead head flies, these are heavier and get down in a hurry. I tried flies with large beads... it did not work the same.

 

 

I've mostly stuck with tungsten flies for this reason. Gets you down quicker than a normal beadhead. If I'm stuck with a lighter beadhead that show work I'll throw a small split shot 7"-10" above the nymph.

 

My most successful set up so far is about 3' of fluoro tippet to my heavy nymph then i tie a clinch knot to the bend in the hook with another 4' of fluoro for my second nymph. I used to tie a bloodknot above the nymph like Fly by Night suggested but I found I got too many twists in the "high" nymph if the tippet wasnt on the heavy side....sort of like tying a teaser ahead of a plug. I think my hook up rati has gone up by keeping everything in-line. The the first, heavy, nymph is the attractor and the terminal nymph is what i am hooking up on. 

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12 hours ago, HillTop said:

Forty foot leader?

HT

 

yep but you are  not casting that far. You just don’t want any fly line outside of the rod tip.

 

If you have an upstream wind then casting the weighted nymphs is to excuse the pun a bit of a breeze.

 

Weight of nymph is not just about presentation in the water column you have to compromise on days when the wind is against you and go heavier than you would like.

 

It is a little like old English style upstream worming which involved casting even less weight at times than these heavy nymphs.

 

A friend  of mine has been using this style of fishing on a Tenkara  rod.

He is emptying his local small chalk stream. He massively out fishes guys  using plastic fly lines. Mostly because his presentations are more drag free.
 

Not easy to do this on smooth glides as you are so very close to the fish. Bubbly runs around three feet deep are good places to start. Stealth is important but is often missing. Clumsy wading is a no no. Think Ninja.

 

Once in the run if you stay still for a while any scared fish will settle down and trout will fallback towards you.

You really are on top of them. Field craft is also key as well as right choice of weight in the fly.

My river nymph box has beads from 2mm to 5 mm. Bodies are wired up to to balance the fly as well as to help get it down.

I dont fish flies like those shown in this thread which surprised me by how big they are. I fish PT type nymphs and olive nymphs and in much smaller sizes.

 

You must give this a whirl it is a great way to fish.

 

mike

Edited by Mike Oliver

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My leader runs between 15-20'.  There are some folks in Maine who believe that euro nymphing is not fly fishing as defined under Maine law.  I called IF&W for an opinion and got two opposing views.  I seem to recall that New York limited leader length for the Salmon River- was that specific to the Salmon or state wide?

As for tying your dropper onto the bend of the point fly- that defeats the purpose of the set up.  Your point fly is your anchor fly and the dropper runs above it ( at least the way I have been instructed)  If you keep the tag short on your blood knot, it does not tangle as much. 

 

I bought a cheap Redington last year and now I want a nice euro rod....

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