Join the bandwagon!
My first experience with Euro Nymphing came many years ago at the hands of my friend and fellow Mainer, Tyler Cote who guides on the Big Horn River. We were fishing the Madison River and I had just landed a few fish nymphing a run with an indicator. Feeling quite content with my results, I then watched Tyler work through the same run with his Euro nymph setup and pick off a dozen fish. After that ass whoopin' I was a believer.
Tight line, French, Polish, Czech, Spanish, Euro, Tenkara or whatever you want to call it; There's a place for it in your fly fishing repertoire. Unlike indicator fishing where you may be missing subtle strikes (trust me, you are), with Euro Nymphing you’re detecting the strike both visually and by feel.
Ideally, you'll want to use a lightweight, 10-11 foot, 3-4 weight rod that's designed for this style of nymphing with a sensitive tip and some backbone. I prefer a 10-foot, 4-weight like the Redington Hydrogen that can handle the large stonefly patterns we use in the Northwest. These also make great dry fly and stillwater rods!
Specialized fly lines like the Rio Euro Nymph line have a thin diameter with a low stretch core will help you feel the subtlest takes. While these lines aren’t designed to truly cast flies due to the lack of a taper, they do serve a purpose when using this technique on the river. Simply put, think of this line as an extension of your leader, giving you a more direct connection to your flies.
You could spend hours researching all the different types of leader setups for Euro Nymphing online, but I like to keep it simple. For my leader setup I use a 9 foot - 2x Rio Powerflex Leader, attach a tippet ring to the end of the leader, then tie on an 18-inch section of Rio Two Tone Indicator Tippet, then attach another tippet ring to the indicator tippet. The brightly colored indicator tippet helps detect strikes and adjust easily adjust your depth.
I will then tie in a 3-5 foot section of 3X or 4X tippet depending on the size of flies I'm using. For the last step I'll tie in another 24-inch section of tippet with a triple surgeon's knot, making sure that I leave an 6-8-inch tag coming off my leader to tie on my dropper fly.
When it comes to fly selection, I don't stray far from all the standard nymphs that work well in this area. I do however use heavily weighted patterns as my point fly. By doing this you'll come in contact with the bottom quicker and cover the water more effectively.
Up next, Techniques…
- Wayne Jordan