Continuing on with this week's discussion on how to fish with Nymphs I figured it would be a good idea to let the beginner angler know what tactics work best with Nymphs. It is important to time your casts correctly so that the fly gets down to where the fish are eating at the spot where you think the fish is. This is very important. Also if you are fishing a multiple fly rig it is best to always put the heaviest Nymph on first so that it will drag all of the trailers behind. Not sure what a multiple fly rig is? Well it is where you tie on multiple flies to your line. This is done primarily by taking some tippet and tying it to the hook bend of the previous fly. I will go into this later in this blog I am sure, but for now this is an easy way to get multiple flies in the water and increase your odds of picking something the fish really want to eat.
Finding the fish
It is important to remember the third dimension when Nymphing. You will have to judge the depth of the water and the current to tie on the right amount of tippet. The deeper and faster the current the more you should tie on, the shallower and slower the less amount of tippet is required. When in doubt I tie on somewhere between 6inchs to a foot of tippet and then just trim it down from there if I am scraping the bottom.
Examine the picture below. I will go over how and where to throw a nymph in each of these positions.
Z1 and Z3 – The pool/eddyThe section shown in Z1 is probably one of your better chances to catch fish in this spot, although a decent nymph presentation is slightly more difficult. The reason for this is you are trying to get a Nymph to float into an area with very little flow. To do this you must gain some momentum by casting into the left side of Rift 1 (R1). I am not sure actually if rift is the right term but I think it sounds all sy-fi and awesome so I am sticking with it. By casting into the left side of the rift the nymph will get down faster to close to the bottom and then tail off around the rock into the eddy, where hopefully you are ready for that giant Brown Trout named "Bubba" to eat it up.
R1 And R2 – The flowing water
It is important to remember that Trout are extremely lazy. Some people might scoff at that but it is true. They will not just sit in R1 or R2 and constantly swim upstream. They will either be in Z1, Z2, or Z3 and dart out into the rifts for big juicy bugs they see go through then right back to being lazy. With that being said it is very important to throw at least one or two casts straight down the middle of these rifts. They will sink fast and get to the bottom quickly and if you are fishing something a decent size and shiny enough you just might snag a big one. Also I will tend to make my first couple of cast straight into these because if I mess up it will be less noticeable than in one of the calmer sections. I will almost always work from the middle of these out. So a good few casts for me would be right in the middle of R1, then to the left side of R1 and then try to do the Z1 cast described above.
Z2 – The middle water
Think about it this way. Seriously… stop and imagine you were a trout. Where do you think the majority of the food ends up on this section. IF you guessed Z2 I would say you are correct. Although you will probably find the giant fish in Z1 that is for protection only that that fish is there. You will find a lot of fish in areas like Z2 because they can feed off of both the rifts R1 and R2. Again a decent approach to this is to cast to the right of R1 and work your way to the middle. Alternatively you can cast to the left of R2 and do the same.
So hopefully this will shed some light on how to dissect a section of the stream for some good fishing. Now of course various things change everything I just said above. Like if the water is very clear you'll probably have good luck right down the middle of R1 and R2. If it is somewhat off color then the eddies will work the best, and you will probably need a bigger or more flashier fly to attract the fish. Bottom line though, your best chances to catch fish are with a Nymph. So if you are a dry fly purist (..you're probably not reading this blog) trust me and tie one on to the end of your dry fly.