Sunday’s Classic / Are Gold Beaded Nymphs Out?

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Gold Beads...What's your take, good or bad? Photo By: Louis Cahill

When I first started guiding for trout it seemed like every nymph in the fly bin had a gold bead on it. Everyone caught fish on them and you didn’t hear of anyone back then shying away from using them. So why do I find myself so reluctant to use them on the water these days? For some reason they don’t seem to work as good for me anymore. Maybe the trout have caught on from everybody using them, or it’s worked its way into their DNA as being a negative trait. More than likely it’s just the fact that there’s so many different colored bead options available to fly fishermen nowadays. Whatever it is, I’ve got a serious confidence issue with gold beads that keep them staying high and dry in my fly box.

I always carry a black and brown sharpie marker with me on the water. This way I can quickly color over my nymphs with gold beads and they don’t go to waist. I’ve talked to many other guides about this subject, and many agree, claiming they prefer fishing non-beaded nymphs or nymphs with beads other than gold most of the time. George Daniels, champion competition fly fisherman, and fly fishing author, suggests using nymphs with black beads when fishing to educated and spooky trout.

What’s your take on gold beads?

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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11 thoughts on “Sunday’s Classic / Are Gold Beaded Nymphs Out?

  1. I have a variety of bead head colors prepared. I find that at times the flash helps others it appears to be a detriment. I do prefer colors that are more natural. Check out George’s new book on nymphing.

    • Trap,

      I agree for dingy water completely. Yes, Dynamic Nymphing is a good read. I couldn’t believe how much casting instruction was in there as well. George knows his stuff.


  2. Caught 17 trout yesterday (water a little stained from Friday night storms) and all but one were caught on a gold BH hares that was trailing a tungsten bh pt jig…

    That said, I agree on the point as when that water is gin clear like usual, I will generally fish an unweighted nymph behind as that extra flash spooks IMO.

  3. I fish gold and nickel in dingy water for wild fish and in any water for truckers (they like the bling). I generally agree that the wild fish (esp. browns) in clear water are more discerning. Smaller sizes, darker beads or no beads for me. It’s funny you post this today. I was headed to the bench to tie up some more hare’s ears for tomorrow’s brownie trip.

  4. Often times a gold bead is the trigger to make the trout eat. On some rivers I would never throw a gold bead because the trout run from it. Other freestone rivers especially in the summer months, all I throw is gold beads. Having color options and knowing when the appropriate time is for different colors is the most important part of the puzzle. Just my two cents on beads. My favorite color…coffee by MFC. If anyone wants to dump gold bead flies, send me an email! Ill scoop them up!

  5. Drop a pack of copper or gold beads in a light salt water solution for a few hours then let them air dry. The resulting oxidation will take off the bright shine and give them a nice mottled look.

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