By Johnny Spillane
There is a lot that goes into indicator nymphing.
There are many different types of nymph fishing, Czech nymphing, French nymphing etc, but I’d like to think that what we do in Colorado and most of the west could be classified as ‘Merican Nymphing. Might as well give it a name. There are many different options and many more opinions on this style of fly fishing but we will keep it simple in this post and address it’s applications.
First off, how do you choose your indicator? They all serve their own purpose, I use Thingamabobber or Fish Pimp products but there is something to be said for old school yarn or pinch on indicators. Whatever product you choose, keep in mind its application because that will play a big role in what will work the best for you. If you’re moving around and changing depth frequently, something that doesn’t destroy your leader and is easy to adjust might be best. If you’re constantly fishing the same depth with minimal weight, a pinch on indicator might be better.
There are many different ways to nymph fish with an indicator, but the number one thing you need to keep in mind is that the goal is to put the fly where the fish are. Setting your depth, in my opinion, is far more important then fly selection. How well does a fly work if it is 2 feet above or below where a fish is feeding? You can change patterns until you are numb but unless you are putting the fly in the fishes feeding column, more often then not you will not get a strike. This holds especially true on tailwaters where the fish are “educated” and wont move to take a fly.
Fish move up and down and back and forth in the water column based on a few key factors; water temperature, hatch stages, sunlight and oxygen content and not necessary in that order. This is a huge simplification, but 99% of the time, if you know these four key things, you can determine where the fish will be holding and what depth to set your rig.
My general rule of thumb is to place your top fly 1.5x the depth that you think the fish are holding in. For example, if you can see fish that are 3 feet deep, you need to set your indicator 4.5 feet from your top fly. The water depth plays almost no bearing on how deep you set your rig because if the run is 10 ft deep but the fish are holding in the top 2 feet of water feeding on trico emergers, why set it any deeper? The only time you truly need to be fishing the bottom of the river is if it is hot as hell, and the fish are in 15 ft of water or if it is the dead of winter and the fish are hugging the bottom trying not to turn into a block of ice.
Indicator size is also important. Always fish the smallest indicator you can. It wont hurt and you will pick up more subtle strikes. Match the indicator to the amount of weight you are using, I like it to barely support my rig so I can see any type of movement that might detect a fish. Sometimes a take is so subtle that the indicator will slightly pause and then continue on its drift. Make sure you set on everything because if you don’t set the hook you will never know if it was a fish or not.
Try these techniques and I’m sure you will get a few more hook-ups.
Johnny SpillaneGink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com email@example.com Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!