Sunday Classic / My Two Favorite Picky Trout Tailwater Nymphs

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One of many trophy browns taken on splitcase nymphs during our trip. Photo Louis Cahill

2 Tailwater nymphs that will never let you down.

Most of you are aware that Louis and I just got back from fly fishing and having Camp 4 Collective shoot our segment for Playground Earth, sponsored by BFGoodrich Tires. We had the pleasure of fly fishing the Owyhee River, one of the finest trophy brown trout tailwaters I’ve ever had the opportunity to wet a line. The resident brown trout here proved to be quite picky, calling for not only accurate drag-free presentations from us, but our casts also had to be timed correctly to fool the feeding trout we had located. Out of the thousands of flies that we had on hand between us, two nymph patterns accounted for 80% of all trout landed. The splitcase bwo nymph and the splitcase pmd nymph were regularly cobbled up by the beautiful 20″ average brown trout during our stay on the Owyhee River. Never again will I only have a handful of these patterns on hand. I was down to my last splitcase nymph by the end of the trip. I can’t tell you enough what trout catchers these guys are. I’ve now caught fish on them from the east coast all the way to west coast and inbetween.


Splitcase BWO & PMD Nymphs – My favorite tailwater nymphs.

The reason I think these two flies worked so well is because they are very sparse nymph patterns that can also double as emergers with their hotspot wingcases. When you find yourself dealing with very educated drift feeders, bulky flies can often be a dead giveaway to trout that your fly is unnatural. The splitcase nymphs work equally well dropped off the back of a dry fly or on a tandem nymph rig. Give them a try next time you’re fly fishing a technical tailwater and the fishing is tough. I’ve yet to be put in a situation where I couldn’t at least get some trout to take one of these two splitcase nymph patterns on the water fly fishing. That’s why they’ve become my two favorite fly patterns for picky tailwater trout.

Below is a fly tying video by Hans Stephenson demonstrating how to tie the Splitcase PMD Nymph:

What’s your favorite picky trout tailwater pattern?

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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6 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / My Two Favorite Picky Trout Tailwater Nymphs

  1. The Owyhee is an awesome river to fish. It took my buddy and I several hours to figure out what they wanted, until I started hooking them on elk hair caddis. Big browns and lots of fun!

    • Les, that is funny. I just got back from the Owyhee. I could not get drys to work (including Cassis of all colors and sizes) but small midge nymphs and Streamers worked well. Were you there recently (in winter)?

      • No, I was there the Fall of 2016, but the memories are as vivid as if I were there yesterday. Want to fish that great stream again soon!

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