I love fishing beneath the surface of the river because of the challenge. It’s an ongoing set of problems to solve. Here are nymph fishing’s seven nagging questions for those who are still slinging nymphs with a strike indicator.
Do I have enough weight?
Often fishers will add split shot above their top fly. The purpose is to get the nymph down to where it belongs – rolling along the bottom of the run.
The more weight, of course, the more tricky it is to sling your fly.
How much weight to use is a judgment call. I use a couple split shot to start – and add or subtract based on what is happening in real time.
Of course, if you are using the technique called “euro nymphing,” then you are not as worried about weight. Your nymphs are weighted and meant to sink to the bottom of the run. You do not have split shot above your flies.
Is my top fly at the right depth?
If you are quickly moving from run to run, then most likely each run is different in degree from the previous one. Plus, each run moves at varying speeds as your flies move up and down the water column.
I make continual adjustments to my strike indicator when I’m at work on the river. That means moving it up or down, depending on whether I’m getting snagged.
If I never snag on the bottom, then I need to move the strike indicator up some, thereby forcing my top fly down to the bottom of the run.
Should I use a dropper or trailer fly?
If you’re just starting out, I’d recommend getting comfortable fishing with a single fly. Some folks fish with three flies. I generally use two. There are a couple ways to tie on multiple flies. Find one that works for you.
Am I mending well enough?
No. This is the chronic challenge of fishing nymphs. Keep at it!
Is the twitch a strike?
Newbie fly fishers tend to be slow to strike (or “set the hook”) when the strike indicator twitches or dips below the surface. So are veteran fly fishers.
Should I change my fly?
Work on your mend. Pay attention to the depth of your flies. Move to the next run.
Okay, now you can change your flies.
What should I change to?
Is there a hatch on? If so, then try an emerger. Then try a slightly different color emerger (if you have one).
Other options: Go smaller. If you’re fishing a #14 beadhead pheasant tail, drop to a size #16.
Penultimate option: Switch to a streamer.
Final option: Go home and clean the garage.