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Do you want to learn how to fly fishing with nymphs? Do you know that nymphing is one of the challenging ways of fishing? If you learn fly fishing with nymphs you will be surprised at how many fishes you will catch. In this article, we discuss how to fly fish with nymphs and other things related to nymph fishing.

Fly Fishing With Nymphs
Fly Fishing With Nymphs

Fly Fishing With Nymphs Tips

1. Always take a variety of nymphs, including types and sizes. Study the water to determine which sizes and types might work. However, you have to try different types and sizes to find the right one. Make sure your selection of nymphs has a lot of patterns in sizes 16 and smaller.

2. Look out for fast-moving, pocket water that will be difficult to reach. This area of water will be difficult to get nymphing rigs into, but it also means there will be less fishing pressure there and as a result, more trout. Cast along the edges of the rocks so the nymph drifts through the pocket and down the seam.

Make sure your fly rod is high as your nymph drifts through the pocket water. If you can persist and get your nymphing rigs in that area, you might be rewarded with many catches.

3. One of the first things you need to do is study the water to determine what kind of natural nymphs the trout are preying on. With this information, you can find an artificial fly that closely resembles the natural nymph. Math the color, size, and design as much as possible.

4. When fly fishing with nymphs, your presentation has to be very good to get the trout to go for your nymph. Therefore, you will need to study the water well so that your presentation of the nymph will get the trout to bite. You will be more successful in catching trout if your nymphs look more real.

Fly Fish Nymphing
Fly Fish Nymphing

5. The depth of the water is very important when fly fishing with nymphs. Nymphs usually are located at the bottom and this is where trout are found to get the nymphs. You have to understand the water depth, speed, and how long it will take for your setup to reach the bottom. If your nymph doesn’t touch the bottom, it simply means that you are not deep enough.

6. Line control is very important when fly fishing with nymphs. Use properly sized strike indicators and try to fish within 30 feet. Work close into a seam in the current and cast upstream at a 25 to 40-degree angle. It is also good to strip the line as it drifts with the current until you achieve a good drift. You can also lift the rod tip sharply to set the hook.

7. When casting, keep the line short, control the rod tip, and extend the rod tip forward a bit more than usual.

8. When the trout are not biting on your nymphs, you can downsize. You can go for a size 16 or 18 instead of a 10 or 12. Chances are you might start seeing more success. Trouts don’t like to expend a lot of energy, therefore, smaller nymphs that are close to them might trigger a bite from the trout.

Fly Fishing Nymph Tips
Fly Fishing Nymph Tips

9. If you find yourself nymph fishing in the same spot for more than thirty minutes without getting a bite, then it is time to move on to another spot. Successful nymph anglers know when to give up a spot and move to another one.

10. Always shorten the number of lines you have on the water. This will help you in identifying strikes and getting more fish. When you detect a strike, you want to set the hook before the fish gets away. Using a short line will only help you achieve that. Every additional line is more lag time between seeing and feeling a strike and setting the hook before the fish frees itself and leaves.

Fly Fishing Nymphs
Fly Fishing Nymphs

Fly Fishing Techniques

There are a number of fly fishing techniques you can use to put your flies in the direction of fish. By learning them, you will be more successful as a nymph angler.

1. The Wet Fly Swing

The Wet fly swing is a fly fishing technique in which you cast a fly across the current and let it “swing” below you and down to the trout. Cast upstream around 45 degrees followed by quick mend. The wet fly swing works well in slow to medium-paced currents than in fast waters. It can be used to locate the fish in slow-moving pools.

2. Direct Upstream Casting

The direct upstream technique is implemented by casting straight upstream or slightly across and upstream. The rod tip should be kept low and stripped in line as the current brings it to you. The line will seem to jump upstream when you get a bite or the leader will tighten. Set the hook if the line does anything other than the usual while coming back downstream and drifting with the current.

With this technique, you are casting over the heads of fish which could spook them. Hence, the direct upstream casting technique is best for faster water in which the splash of the line and the fly will both be covered by the noise of the water.

Fly Fishing Nymph Ideas
Fly Fishing Nymph Ideas

3. High Sticking

High sticking is a technique to keep most of the fly line off of the water by holding the tip of the rod as high as it can be. This method will work with shorter upstream casts and is ideal for fast, swirling water.

4. Two Fly Rigs

Using two nymphs at one time is another nymphing technique called two fly rigs. This technique allows you to use two different fly patterns to locate the fish. It should not be used in an area with a lot of brush or where snags are regular as you can snag easily and then lose two flies instead of just one. It should also be avoided in windy situations because there will be more tangles.

5. Light Rig

Light rig is another fly fishing technique that doesn’t use the fly line. With this technique, the fish will not get spooked and there will be less time tangled in trees and bushes.

Fly Fishing With Nymphs Tips
Fly Fishing With Nymphs Tips

Main Types of Nymphs

1. Mayfly

The Mayfly metamorphosis is incomplete. As a result, the nymph emerges above the water. This nymph lacks the large legs of the caddis. The Mayfly attempts to swim to the surface after collecting gas under its exoskeleton.

2. Caddis

The caddis goes through a complete metamorphosis, unlike the Mayfly. It goes through the pupal stage that results in adults. It features a shiny or sparkling appearance due to the gas trapped in its exoskeleton.

3. Stonefly

The Stonefly begins as eggs and doesn’t have a pupa stage. They also have an incomplete metamorphosis passing through three stages such as the egg, nymph, and adult.

Fly Fishing With Nymphs
Fly Fishing With Nymphs


Stages of Nymph Development

1. Larval or Nymph Stage

The larva stage is an insect born underwater as it develops before beginning its metamorphosis.

2. Pupae or Emerger Nymph Stage

Complete metamorphosis happens between the larval and adult stages in the pupae stage. Pupae nymphs are shorter and thicker usually in the range of 14 to 26. Most pupae nymphs are easy targets for trout as they float the water until they have the right conditions to hatch.

3. Adult Stage

The adult stage above water is very short for most nymphs. The Mayfly adult stage is very short and last for a few minutes to a day.

Fly Fishing Ideas With Nymphs
Fly Fishing Ideas With Nymphs

Best Flies for Nymph Fishing

1. Cannon’s or San Juan Worm

The San Juan worm works well and fish will try to eat it. Worms work almost at any time and place but will work well when the water is off-color and not very clear.

2. Hare’s Ear Nymph

The Hare’s ear nymph is versatile as it can be tied in a variety of colors with different materials. It is one of the best Mayfly imitations.

Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing

3. Zebra Midge

The Zebra Midge works regardless of the time of the year. Whether it is a sunny or cold day, it will catch fish. The reason is that midges hatch during all seasons making them a main staple for trout in many areas. The Zebra midge can also be designed in different colors and sizes to work in any area.

4. Prince Nymph

The Prince nymph is found in most fly collections and works well in any area. It is easy to present the Prince nymph and have it in a number of colors.

5. Copper John

The Copper John sinks fast, matches the profile of many insects, features plenty of color options, and has great movement in the water. It is a popular choice because of its fish-catching capabilities.

Pheasant Tail Nymph
Pheasant Tail Nymph

6. Bead Head Soft-Hackle Pheasant Tail

This nymph fly is a good option if you are finding it difficult to catch fish and experiencing tough fishing conditions. It is similar to the Hare’s ear as it is ideal for tough conditions and gives the fish something out of the ordinary to entice it.

7. Rubber Legs

The rubber leg can mimic many different types of insects. It is made of a variety of sizes, colors, and patterns. Its rubber legs give it a lot of motion and movement in the water which may just be what tricks the fish.

8. Sow Bug

The sowbug is a tailwater insect and is a major food source for trout year-round. You will catch a lot of fish if you use the sow bug in the right water. It is also great to use it with a worm. The most used colors are gray, brown, and rainbow hybrids.

9. Rainbow Warrior

The rainbow warrior flu is ideal for cold and winter conditions. It can flow through the water as it is small but also attracts the attention of fish as it is flashy. It gets deep down to the trout as it sinks quickly.

Nymphs For Fly Fishing
Nymphs For Fly Fishing

10. Iron Lotus

The iron lotus is made of a thread body nymph that is coated in nail polish thereby creating a hard body that sinks quickly. It is simple but very effective.

Do trout like nymphs?
Using nymphs to catch trouts has been successful many times.
Is nymphing really fly fishing?
Nymphing is a form of fly fishing
Can you swing nymphs?
Yes, you can swing nymphs to get trouts.
What is the best size nymph for trout?
Dry flies with sizes 12-16 and nymphs sizes 18-22 are ideal for catching trouts.
What is the difference between a dry fly and a nymph?
The main difference between a nymph and a dry fly is their dwelling place.

The Bottom Line

Fly fishing with nymphs is not one of the easiest ways to catch fish. However, you can learn and get good at it. It is an effective way to catch trout as they have a voracious appetite. In this article, we discussed how to fly fish with nymphs.

We hope that this article gave you some ideas to become a better angler using nymphs. This article on fly fishing tips helps you be more successful with fly fishing. If you need sling packs, you can read the best fly fishing sling packs.