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Nymphing Techniques & Strike Indicators

By Doug Persico
About the author: Doug Persico is the owner of Rock Creek Fisherman's Mercantile, located at:
15995 Rock Creek Road
Clinton, MT 59825 (Exit Interstate 90 at Exit 126)
(406) 825-6440

Dead drifting a nymph on the bottom and fishing a nymph on or near the surface, either by itself or in tandem with another fly, are the two most productive methods of nymph fishing. Dead drifting simply means figuring out where the fish are holding on the bottom, weighting either the fly or the leader enough to get the fly down to where the fish are, and drifting the fly through the holding water until a fish takes it. Recognizing the take and setting the hook follow. Sounds simple, right? It is, until you consider such questions as, how do you know if you are deep enough, and how do you recognize the take.

The answer to the first question is easy. If you are getting hung up on the bottom and losing an occasional fly, you're deep enough. To answer the second question opens up one of the big debates currently in fly fishing -- are strike indicators nothing more than bobbers and an open acknowledgment that the fly fisher hasn't mastered his craft?

Most of my customers use strike indicators to recognize takes when dead drifting a nymph. Strike indicators are simply something the angler can see under any condition. They are attached to the leader far enough away from the fly so that they can be seen on the surface as the fly drifts on or near the bottom. The strike indicator telegraphs to the fisherman the fact that the nymph is no longer drifting. The angler must then quickly set the hook before the fish spits the fly out. Strike indicators are a valuable aid to increase productivity. As a fly shop owner, I make and sell indicators, and I consider them a valuable source of revenue for the shop.
The other method of nymphing used most often on Rock Creek is fishing a nymph unweighted either as a wet fly on the swing or as a trailer to a dry fly. To fish a nymph on the swing, simply cast across the current and start stripping line slowly in as the fly starts swinging below you. In most cases the fish will hook itself.

A technique that is becoming increasingly popular is to fish an emerger imitation in tandem with a dry fly during the hatches. A section of tippet is attached to the bend of a dry fly hook. The tippet section is from 16 to 18 inches long, and an emerger nymph is attached. The dry is drifted and catches fish in its own right as well as acts as a strike indicator for the trailing nymph. This method is proving itself deadly and increases in popularity every year.

For more information on Montana fly fishing, visit www.glaciertoyellowstone.com.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 22, 2007 5:04 PM.

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