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Drifting Nymphs, Guiding Update, & Lost Fishing Friends

How are Your Nymphs Drifting?

I've made an observation while watching others fish nymphs and that is that there are a lot of anglers out there who fish their nymphs like they fish their dry flies. And the trouble with that is that it works.....sometimes. But in early spring, and other times of the year when the water is on the cold side and a little higher than normal, it often does not work very well.

It's also been my observation that if an angler isn't catching fish on nymphs one of several things happen. He/she either (1) doesn't change anything and continues to cast the flies and the rig even though it's not working. (2) He/she switches to a streamer thinking that it will bring better results, and maybe it will. (3) He/she switches to a dry fly thinking that if the fish are not biting, a dry fly is more fun to watch anyway.

There are a couple of simple little things that the angler could try that just might make a

big difference. Let's look at three things.

(1) The cast. A perfect dry fly cast turns over smoothly with the fly landing at the end of the cast, right? Yes. An effective nymph cast, in the conditions that we're talking about (fast, cold water) however, should land with the nymphs going straight down under the indicator. The faster the drop the better. This will require a cast that stops short and high so that the flies “stop and drop”. The leader and the flies should enter the water first followed by the leader and line. This gives the flies the slack and the opportunity to sink “quick and deep.” You want your flies in the strike zone as soon as possible and this cast, commonly referred to as a tuck cast, will do it. Depending on the situation lifting the fly line off the water, or high-sticking, will help when you're fishing through a chute or when tension from the fly line can hinder the drift.

(2) The weight. If you're not occasionally hooking up on the bottom or picking up debris, you're probably not on the bottom. Too much weight and you'll be stuck all the time, but not enough and your flies will be going over the backs of the fish. We love tungsten nymphs simply because they sink quickly, and still sometimes we have to add more weight to the leader, use heavier flies, or consider a sink-tip. Any of the tungsten flies in our store are good choices for spring fishing. If you find that your nymphs are sinking the indicator, use a bigger or better floating indicator.

(3) The Indicator. The indicator is also a very critical part of the equation. If you miss the

strike, it's all over and you won't even know it happened. We have come to love the Eco-friendly Air-Lock indicators from Rajeff Sports for nymph fishing in these conditions. Available in 1/2” or 3/4”, these indicators are secure, adjustable, and high floating. We especially like the larger size in supporting heavy nymphs and split shot. The most important think about indicators is the placement. If it's too far up on the leader you will miss the strike, but not far enough and the nymphs won't be on the bottom. Experiment with the placement and don't hesitate to reposition it if you're not getting any strikes. You may have to lengthen the leader to get enough space between the indicator and the flies. Learn to concentrate on the indicator, it won't always shout when a fish is taking the fly, often it's a very subtle almost undetectable change in the movement, a slight pause or slight hesitation of the indicator is sometimes is all the notice that we get when a fish picks up our fly.

It's very important to change things when you're not getting results – the flies, the weight, the leader, the placement of the indicator. We would all rather catch fish on a dry fly but there are times when they are simply not eating on the surface. Becoming a better nymph fisherman will make your precious time on the water more productive.

Guiding Update

Our guiding season is getting off to a great start. We are at the end of the Blue Quills and the beginning of the Hendricksons. The stream is in great shape, water level is perfect. Come out and fish with us. The spring fishing won't last long enough!

Lost Fishing Friends

We recently lost a very dear friend whom some of you know from here on Fishing Creek. Hank Leonhard had been a true blue friend since the 1970s, even before I knew Barry he and Hank were tying flies and fishing together. Hank and his friend Bill Luzardo had a fly tying materials company called L&L Products, back in the day, and at that time he lived on Long Island, NY. The years would come and go and when he retired and and his wife, Mary, moved to our valley and built a retirement home. His love of fishing, fly tying and photography was what brought him and Barry together but it was friendship and caring that kept them lifelong friends.

This short story by Domenick Swentosky hits home for we all have memories of friends who no longer fish with us for whatever reason.

Hank Leonard


That's it for this week. Thanks for following along. Remember, spring is short and so is life, so fish!


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