During early season nymph fishing, small adjustments—those designed to present flies in slightly different currents—can often result in big results.
The basics of nymph fishing require a fly (or more flies) to be presented upstream. Nymphs, often weighted with bead heads, lead (or lead-free) line wraps, split sinkers added to the leader, or a combination of all of these, bring the flies to where the fish are.
- In cold early spring waters, target areas are usually deeper, calmer areas where trout can position themselves to intercept natural nymphs and larvae without resisting strong currents, often taking advantage of calm spots provided by rocks. submerged, ledges and other forms of cover.
These basic elements contain many details that can make all the difference in terms of fish action, such as:
- Fish in nearby water first, even if it doesn’t look very appealing. It’s easy to scare fish away by initially targeting what in your mind is the sweet spot for a run. Be patient.
- Your short game is often your best game. Don’t try to drift too big an area. Limit your “reach” to about a 90 degree arc, we started with a quarter cast at 45 degrees upstream.
- To cover new waters, it’s often better to reposition yourself, rather than add distance to your casts. There is often a sweet spot in a race – not just in terms of where the fish is, but yours as well. Working the water gradually, varying your casting position in a careful and well-planned way, increases your chances of finding the magic combination.
- A strike indicator not only increases your chances of detecting a trout strike, it is also representative of how your flies are moving relative to the current. Comparing the velocity of the surface bubbles to that of the indicator’s drift tells you what adjustments you need to make (like line repair) to keep your bids drifting at the right pace.
Also remember that bottom currents are often slower than surface currents. A slightly lagging indicator is not necessarily a bad thing.
- Trout location is often based on current, so be sure to experiment by carefully fishing all current seams in the run you are working. From the angler’s perspective, we can spot the seams that scream out to us as indicating where the fish should be. And we are often right.
But certainly not always. Let the trout tell you where the perfect spot(s) are in a race by covering it all. It’s not wrong to have preconceived ideas; don’t let these notions keep you from catching all the water, an effort that often leads to a pleasurable outcome.
On small streams, a short leader with a short “on sight” section of line attached to it is advantageous. Starting with a 7½ foot knotless leader, cut about 5½ feet from it, measured from the butt (loop end) of the leader. Next, tie about 18 inches of Hanak Indicator Line (line of sight) via a blood knot. A micro tip ring is attached to the other end of the line of sight. Finally, a section of tip material is attached to the tip ring, the length of which is determined by the average depth of water expected to be fished that day. As the name suggests, the observation section is used to provide a visible clue as to when a fish takes the nymph. Constructed in the manner just described, the leader sight section remains above the surface of the water. Short uphill throws are made towards the targeted area. The rod tip follows the fly drift with just a slight sag is the leader, with the sight section easily visible. Strikes are exemplified by a rapid change of leader.