Nymph Fishing

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Nymph Fishing
Nymphs and Wet Flies
Nymph Book
Nymph Fishing Outfit
Nymph Rod
Nymph Reel
Nymph Line
All pictures are Mouse-over.

Nymph Fishing
Any fishery biologist will tell you that trout capture most of their food from beneath the surface of the water. Most of this fare is composed of juvenile aquatic insects commonly referred to as nymphs.
Joan Burr fishes with a strike indicator and deep sunk nymphs.

Most of the insects that you will see on or around rivers and streams hatched from the water.  That is, they spent from several months to several years as a water breathing insect and then crawled or swam to a place where they could change into an air breathing insect. Normally these various species of insects spent over 95% of their lives crawling or swimming deep in the river and only became air breathing/flying insects for a brief period to reproduce and die.  Much of the time many

Two nymph rig...

aquatic insects are actually living in the river bottom under the gravel or in vegetation where it is hard for trout to find them.  During fluctual water periods insects can become dislodged from the bottom.  This is called catastrophic drift. During certain cycles of each day, aquatic insect populations tend to redistribute themselves by drifting down the river with the currents.  This is call behavioral drift.  Both kinds of drifts expose the nymphs to the trout and heavy feeding can occur.  It is during these periods that the skilled nymph fisher can score big numbers.  This is especially true during the early spring months, because all of the insects that will hatch during the spring and summer months are

crawling around on the bottom of the river and the population of aquatic insects is the highest.
Very few aquatic insects get very far from the bottom unless they are coming to the surface to hatch.  Few aquatic insects get more than 6" from the bottom and many more are much closer the majority of the time.  When fishing with nymphs, it is often most productive if your flies are moving naturally within a couple of inches from the bottom.  The rig pictured above consists of two nymphs, a sinker and a yarn

Bruce Burr landing a Deschutes trout caught on a nymph.

strike indicator.  The second nymph swims free on tag end of a blood knot. There are many variations on this type of two-nymph set-up. Blood knot droppers are only proven to be reliable when using hard monofilament such as Maxima Clear and Chameleon or Fluorocarbon such as Rio Fluoroflex Plus. . Softer leader materials may deform when a blood knot is tied and the junction of the tag ends become weakened.  To minimize this problem, many anglers tie a short leader to the bend of the hook on the first fly with an improved clinch knot. In my experience more fish are caught with the first method.  I also have found that a twist-on lead strip sinker is quicker to customize to the exact weight needed than are split shot.  The tend to get hung up on the bottom less too.  There are many kinds of strike indicators.  All are miniature bobbers.  They not only help detect impediment to the free movement of the flies, but also may suspend the flies slightly above the bottom of the river and reduce the mount snags that occur.  In some places the current at the surface of the river is much faster than the current at the bottom of the river where both nymphs and trout live.  You must watch and make sure that the indicator isn't pulling the flies down stream unnaturally fast.  Only repeated mending up stream will allow the flies to drift naturally.  In this situation it is often best to remove the strike indicator and feel for strikes.  A fly line with a bright tip can help keep track of what is going on.  When fishing nymphs close to the bottom, hang-ups will occur.  When hooks come in repeated contact with the bottom it is inevitable that points will get dulled.  Be sure to carry a hook-sharpener and use it often.

Nymphs and Wet Flies
High-stick nymph fishing...

Any fishery biologist will tell you that trout capture 80% or more of their food from beneath the surface of the water. Nymphs and wet flies represent juvenile aquatic insects or insects that are laying eggs or have drowned. These are the most important flies the trout fisher can have.

Bead Heads

Egg Flies

Prince Nymphs

Caddisflies, Subsurface

Fry Flies



Leeches and Wooly Buggers

Soft Hackles

Damsel Fly Nymphs

May Flies and Stones

Stonefly Nymphs

Dragon Fly Nymphs

Midges and Chironomids

Water Boatmen




Rick Hafele
Stackpole Books, 2007
Subject Category: Fly Fishing
Format:  HC + DVD
Pages:  192 pages + DVD
Trim Size:  8 1/2 x 11
ISBN:  0-8117-0169-7
Photos:  330 color photos
Illustrations:  20 illustrations

difficulty for the angler is merely that the reason is hidden some way beneath the surface.
--G. E. M. Skues

During the considerable periods of time trout spend feeding exclusively on underwater food forms, nymph fishing can be the most productive, if not the only way to catch fish. But understanding what occurs below the water's surface can be a challenge for even the most experienced angler. In Nymph-Fishing Rivers and Streams, aquatic entomologist and long-time fly fisherman Rick Hafele shares the information necessary to successfully decipher the mysteries of trout life. He starts by explaining their feeding patterns--where trout feed, when they feed, and what's available for them to eat. Sections on tackle and pattern selection help anglers sort through equipment and imitations to find the best outfit for their needs. The DVD complements the photos in the book that show various methods for nymph fishing. Also included is an angler's field guide to nymphs with details on their habitat, importance to trout, and the most effective patterns and fishing tactics to imitate them.

Item Title Price To Top
0-8117-0169-7 Book, Nymph-Fishing Rivers and Streams, by Rick Hafele $49.95

0-8117-0169-7B Book- Nymph-Fishing Rivers and Streams, Rick Hafele with any purchase over  $100. That is 20% OFF plus FREE SHIPPING $39.96


Nymph Fishing Outfit

There is an advantage in using longer rods for fishing nymphs in moving water. The other day I fished the Deschutes with an outfit I think you would really like.  The rod was a Temple Fork Outfitters 10-foot 5-weight from the Professional Series.  The Professional (Pro) Series was designed by Lefty Krey specifically for professional fishing guides.  Pros are essentially "Client Rods"; that is, they are rods that guides would loan to clients during fishing trips.  As such they were designed for the average fly caster.  Pro series rods are easy to load and are very durable.  I was surprised by the good balance and light weight of this model.  For the reel I chose a Ross CLA #3.  Last summer Brian Silvey had told me about his good luck with the steelhead size CLA's he had been using as "client reels", so I bought one.  As usual, Brian was right.  The CLA proved to be a rugged performer.  So a #3 was loaded with backing and a WF5F Scientific Anglers Dry Tip Nymph Line that Brian O'Keefe had sent to me.  On the water this rig fished weighted flies accurately with nothing but the leader past the rod tip.  It also did as well in the normal 20' to 40' range. With two weighted flies and a twist-on sinker I was also able to fish at ranges approaching 75'.  This outfit has become part of my stable.

Favored nymph outfit...

Item Description Price To Top
FFS-NFO Nymph Fishing Outfit, TFO-0510 4P Rod, Ross CLA #3 Reels, Scinetific Anglers Mastery Dry Tip Nymph Line WF5F, 9-foot-3X Leader, 150 yd. Backing $433.95 SALE ENDED

TFO Nymph Rod
TFO 05 10 4P

Length: 10'       Line: #5     Pieces: 4   

TFO Nymph Rod

Deadly nymph fishing rod. Excellent float tube rod. Rod weight: 4.2 Ounces.
Item Series Line Wt Action Handle Price To Top
TFO-05104P Pro 5 Med-Fast 1 $184.95


An affordable Trout Reel
CLA Info 1-3   Features  
Buy Slate Gray Reels & Spools Buy Black Reels & Spools



The CLA is an affordable hybrid large arbor trout fly reel that carries the name of one of Ross’ oldest and most popular series. However the CLA is a big departure from the original Cimarron design. It incorporates our newest generation drag mechanism that is extraordinarily smooth, heat resistant and provides incredible stopping power. The CLA matches the Cimarron in durability and affordable price, but offers a stronger drag, greater drag range and sensitivity, more pleasant incoming and outgoing sound, hybrid large arbor configuration, innovative conversion mechanism and other additional features that anglers have come to expect with modern fly reel design. Each reel in this series is designed with a specific diameter and width to maximize the properties of drag consistency and line retrieval. The CLA will set a new standard for what anglers come to expect from an American made, high-quality, reasonably priced fly reel.

Frame/Spool Material:
6061-T6 proprietary aluminum alloy.
Manufacturing Specifications: Fully machined, 1 piece frame, 1 piece spool with a Delrin pressed hub - manufactured on automated CNC machines.
Drag Material: Delrin 500AF with impregnated Teflon – space-age polymer that is durable, heat resistant, self lubricating and maintenance free.
Drag Mechanism: Delrin 500AF to anodized aluminum interface – push frame friction disc drag system.
Drag Engagement System: Dual redundancy radial pawl engagement.
Spool Rotation Mechanism: Delrin hub rotating on a stainless steel spindle

Number of Reels in Series: 8
Fly Rod Coverage: 2 wt. – 13 wt. and  Spey 6wt. – 12wt.
Fishing Application: Designed for use in all freshwater, warmwater and saltwater fishing environments.

Ross CLA Reels & Spools in Slate Gray Color
Item Description Size Price To Top
ROSS CLA 1R Ross CLA Reel, Slate Gray 1 $160

ROSS CLA 1S Ross CLA Spool, Slate Gray 1 $84

ROSS CLA 1.5R Ross CLA Reel, Slate Gray 1.5 $170

ROSS CLA 1.5S Ross CLA Spool, Slate Gray 1.5 $89

ROSS CLA 2R Ross CLA Reel, Slate Gray 2 $180

ROSS CLA 2S Ross CLA Spool, Slate Gray 2 $94

ROSS CLA 3R Ross CLA Reel, Slate Gray 3 $190

ROSS CLA 3S Ross CLA Spool, Slate Gray 3 $100


Ross CLA Reels & Spools in Black Color
Item Description Size Price To Top
ROSS CLA 1R Ross CLA Reel, Black 1 $160

ROSS CLA 1S Ross CLA Spool, Black 1 $84

ROSS CLA 1.5R Ross CLA Reel, Black 1.5 $170

ROSS CLA 1.5S Ross CLA Spool, Black 1.5 $89

ROSS CLA 2R Ross CLA Reel, Black 2 $180

ROSS CLA 2S Ross CLA Spool, Black 2 $94

ROSS CLA 3R Ross CLA Reel, Black 3 $190

ROSS CLA 3S Ross CLA Spool, Black 3 $100


7 Mastery Dry Tip Nymph Line

Mastery Dry Tip Nymph Line
Mastery Dry Tip Nymph Line Mastery Dry Tip Nymph LineMastery Dry Tip Nymph LineMastery Dry Tip Nymph Line


  • Specially formulated 3M PVC integrated with patented AST and Dry Tip Technology

The perfectly balanced nymph line - now made with new Dry Tip Technology for fly fishing's ultimate floating fly line experience

  • Powerful front taper for longer casts with weighted nymphs

  • Easily turns over bigger flies, indicators, and shot

  • Better mending, stack mending, and roll casting

  • Ideal for nymphing in big water, especially when using single-hand spey casting techniques

  • Two-tone color helps you know when to recast

  • New orange indicator tip helps detect strikes

Color: Willow/Orange

Taper characteristics:

  • More powerful front taper turns over weighted-flies, split-shot, and wind-resistant strike indicators

  • Extra-long compound tapered head improves line control, mending, and stack mending

  • Extra-long head length allows single-hand spey casting and overhead casting

  • Larger tip diameter, with Dry Tip Technology, for optimum floatation

  • High-floating for easier mending and better strike detection


  • Braided multifilament nylon with optimum air entrapment for minimum memory, maximum floatation

Item Description Price To Top
911116 Mastery Dry Tip Nymph Line, WF4F $59.95

911123 Mastery Dry Tip Nymph Line, WF5F $59.95

911130 Mastery Dry Tip Nymph Line, WF6F $59.95

911109 Mastery Dry Tip Nymph Line, WF7F $59.95

911147 Mastery Dry Tip Nymph Line, WF8F $59.95


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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty

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