Today we continue our series on trout fishing tactics, based on our approach at Chile West but applicable anywhere trout swim. The topic of the day is nymphing techniques.
You’ve been floating the river, it’s noon or so, sun is high, it’s hot, fishing has slowed down, a lot, and you don’t see any bugs hatching or fish rising.
The fish are probably down deep or in the riffles where it’s cooler and they have cover. Try nymphing the riffle and down deep in the bucket.
Turn over a few rocks in the shallows and see if you can’t find some nymphs. What did you find? Look in your fly box and tie on something similar, preferably weighted. Use a dry fly that matches the nymph as an indicator. Use a leader length suitable for the depth of the riffle.
Start at the bottom of the riffle and cast up into the riffle, letting your nymph sink down and drift through the riffle. If you have “belly” in the line, the nymph will drag up to the surface and be moving faster than the current speed. If the line is tight, the nymph will “swing” and hold, and the current will then lift the fly. Remember the bugs float at the speed of the current so mend your line accordingly.
Keep your eye on the dry fly as it floats down. If the fish take the dry fly, you will see it. If the dry fly suddenly disappears, the fish has taken the nymph. Set the hook!
When nymphing the bucket, get “down and dirty”. You’ll probably want to lengthen the leader and possibly remove the indicator. Tie on two heavily weighted nymphs, both different patterns. Cast up into the riffle, just above where it drops off and gets deep. Let the flies sink down deep. You have to mend slack into the line in order for the flies to get deep. Once you feel the flies are in the zone, tighten up the line a little by lifting the rod tip as the line swings through the hole. Watch the tip of the fly line, right where the leader is tied on. Any hesitation or sudden upstream curl in the line… set the hook!
Keep trying different nymph patterns until you find what the fish are eating. This may take a while as you may have to try several different patterns and sizes. Patience will pay off when you find the right fly.