View Full Version : Nymph Fishing?

11-06-2006, 11:34 AM
* * * * I have been flyfishing for trout for 4 years. I never took any lessons for anything so I suppose I have *a lot of bad habits etc. I've read books and I have visited forums like this. The consensus regarding nymph fishing is to either drop a nymph off of a large dry fly or to use an indicator ( foam Football type for example) above the nymph. You are suppose to watch the floating visual aid and upon a stop or movement lift the rod tip to set the hook. Is this correct?
* * * * My experience, although not a prolific fish catcher, is that when nymphing, I seem to catch 90% of all my fish *swinging the fly down and across at perhaps a 45 degree angle and the bite is when the fly is rising to the surface. Another thing when doing this the line has no slack and the bite or strike is detected by having the index and thumb of my left hand holding the fly line. That is right I feel the strike just like I used to do when worm fishing 40 years ago in the Susquehanna river behind the Bethlehem Steel Mill. *I usuall set the hook, yes I lift the rod tip at the fist sign of a hit. I fish like this with no indicator. I catch more trout on nymphs when not using an indicator.

My question is this not a proper technique and would I do better to abandon the old feel technique and strictly fish with the visual indicator technique?

11-06-2006, 11:37 AM
The whole idea is to catch fish. Stay with what works and don't worry about techniques.

David Knapp
11-06-2006, 01:41 PM
Some of the best anglers fish their nymphs without an indicator. I learned to fish them without an indicator and believe that the ability to do so makes one a better fisherman. I know lots of other people will tell you the exact opposite though. I think there are some situations where an indicator might be helpful such as on big rivers where your fishing nymphs on a longer line. However, on our small mountain streams, I think you can be much more stealthy without an indicator. If your catchin' fish, I wouldn't worry too much about changing things...

Hugh Hartsell
11-06-2006, 01:45 PM
:) Hello, 18inchbrown, you have brought up one of the subjects that I love to talk about and it has been a part of my fishing experience for almost all of my trout fishing life. The part that you have working for you is something that you should definitely keep on practicing. There is however, a lot more that can go with the method that you're already using as well as using an indicator. You need to get "dead drifts down to an art, learning to keep slack out of your line as the fly comes back downstream toward you is paramount to detecting strikes. Proper upstream mending is very necessary, as is reading water. Knowing where fish are going to be lying in wait for food is right at the top of the list. Having flies that are weighted properly makes a great difference. In other words, getting down deep and slowing the fly down so that the fish have a decent chance to see if it is what they might want, makes a great deal of difference in the amount of fish you will catch and the size of them as well. In our mountain streams, "high stickin"plays such an important role in getting the fly where it is needed, as well as slowing it down when you're trying to fish a holding spot right along side a fast run. All of these things that I have mentioned as well as learning to do the Curve Cast properly, will up the amount of fish that you will catch, and the size of the fish so dramatically that any amount of time and money that you will spend learning to do it properly will be well worth it. Keep on growing in this skill and report back to us about the results.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.

11-06-2006, 02:08 PM
I agree, stay with what works for you, but you may need a strike indicator for different types of nymphing. For instance fishing a larger river, a floating indicator works well because your making longer cast to get a longer drift. Mending and line control is very important. High Stickin is probably the best technique to master for pocket water streams. No indicator is needed and will usually spook the fish. Since you have learned to catch fish by feel, your already ahead of a lot of the fly fishermen out there. A combination of different techniques will increase your fish catching abilities. Everyone has their own favorite way of flyfishing. Learning new techniques may turn a bad day at first into a memorable one.

11-06-2006, 02:42 PM
Troutman brings up a good point. I use indicators on tailwaters for the same reasons. But, I still highstick on them, too. Just usually no more than 30-40ft. The key, as Hugh pointed out, is to maintain contact with your flies or have other visual clues to tip you off to a strike. A good visual is the floating flyline/leader connection. Watch it for movement, watch for flashes, and feel for the strike. What you are doing now is something similar to the leisenring lift. Look up the name Jim Leisenring. It's a good technique to use to imitate emerging insects.

Don't make it too hard just because it's a flyrod. Remember how you used to fish those worms, or other bait, on a dead drift with conventional tackle? It's the same with a flyrod. It's just a different delivery method. I was highsticking bait when I was 3-4 years old without knowing I was doing anything fancy. ;)

11-06-2006, 02:55 PM
Thanks for this post! I have been doing well with dropper and indicator setups, but I've not done very well when trying to push the nymph down deep. I should probably work on it more, I'm sure with some practice I could improve. Thanks for all the information everyone!


11-06-2006, 03:54 PM
Agree with redc4man,

Great question and great answers! Nothing left but a practical application.....


11-06-2006, 09:58 PM
I learned to flyfish 12 years ago on tailwaters, mostly nymphing and always without an indicator. *As time went on my productivity increased. *Learning how to manage my line allowed me to "feel" the strikes and learning how to read the H2O helped as well. *I moved close to the Park 5 years ago and began my love affair with a totally different type of fishing, but to the same species of fish. *More shallow water, shorter casts, and the added bonus ( or curse ) of clear water helped my % of hookups. *While fishing the Park, I became a big fan of the well known combo of a dry with a dropper. *Now when I fish tailwaters I employ that same combo and have noticed a considerable improvement in my fish count. *However in the Park I also have good success using the double nymph without an indicator. *I seem to be able to feel the strikes much better on the smaller streams for most of the reasons mentioned in previous posts. *

To answer your question, compare your averages with and without an indicator of some sort and let the # be your answer. *Most important, enjoy your time on the water. *We are a fortunate group.

11-07-2006, 09:44 AM
* * * * * * * Thank you all for your responses. I was just wondering about the feel technique because when you read about people posting about using indicators they never never mention feeling the strike. in fact, I don't recall many nymphing techniques speaking of feeling. I thought (Incorrectly) that perhaps true flyfishermen felt that feeling was for bait fishermen although I can't help but think of using an indicator as bobber fishing ( *;) )