Tips For Better Indicator Nymph Fishing

Tips For Better Indicator Nymph Fishing

Trout spend 80% of their time feeding subsurface so if you want to catch more fish, you need to become a better nymph fisherman.  There are a few different options here but by far the easiest path to more fish is to master indicator nymphing.  These are a few essentials that I’ve learned that has helped me land more fish.

  1. Use weight!  Often times, the difference between catching fish and getting skunked is a split shot smaller than a BB.  If you don’t have your rig properly weighted, it takes longer during your drift to get the fly into the trout’s feeding zone and therefore chance to hook a fish.  I prefer using weighted nymphs that have either lead wraps or tungsten beads to help with the process.  A simple split shot kit tho is essential to ensure you have your rig properly weighted.  The rule of thumb here is if you’re not catching up on the bottom every few drifts, then add a small split shot.
  2. Reposition your indicator.  This tip assumes that you’re not hunkered down in that big deep pool that you think must be holding fish.  Instead you should be actively fishing which means you’re fishing the tailout, riffles and run of that same pool.  It should be obvious that the water in the middle of the pool is a hell of a lot deeper that the run at the top of the pool and the tailout at the end of the pool.   since this is the case, why do most fisherman keep their indicator 5 to 6 feet from the fly the entire day?   In the deep pools, this make sense but if you’re fish through the riffles and into the run at the head of the pool, that water may only be 18 inches deep but still holding good trout.  That means you have 4 feet of extra tippet drifting around aimless underneath your indicator.  All that slack translates to poor strike detection and less fish in your net.  Its critical that you understand the depth of water you’re fishing and constantly adjust your indicator to adapt to that water depth.  I try to keep my tippet length about 1.5x of the water depth (For water 2 feet deep, keep the tippet at 3 feet).  This gives enough slack to allow the fly to descend to depth while maintaining its drift.
  3. Mend your line.  I believe the most important aspect of nymph fishing is presentation.  If the fly looks to be drifting unnaturally through the water, the trout will not take it.  One of the most common influences to your flies drift is surface drag.  Your indicator and fly line are tethered to your fly so the more mass on the surface being pulled by the current, then the more your fly will be pulled along with it.  The answer to this however, is to mend your line.  This is a simple technique where following your cast, you take any of your extra fly line on the water and flip it with the tip of your rod upstream of the indicator.  If the line is above the indicator, then the pulling or drag effect from the surface current is minimized thus achieving a purer drift.

If you are able to learn these three tips, I guarantee that you’ll begin putting more fish in the net.