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OTC_MN  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, March 13, 2018 10:04:01 PM(UTC)
OTC_MN
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One of the things I always try to ask myself when I go fishing is "What did I learn?" The way I look at it, there's always more to learn, and if you pay attention, you learn at least *something* pretty much every time you go - even if what you learn is that you aren't as clever as you thought you were.

For the past couple years I've spent a lot of time learning the whole Euro nymphing thing. It's been pretty effective (sometimes remarkably so) and it can be a wildly entertaining way to catch trout. And I definitely learn something new about it pretty much every time I go.

But I've also learned that as effective as it is, it it has limitations.

One of the limitations I've been trying to work my way around is stretches of slow, slick water. Especially this winter, I've run into situations where I know there are pods of fish holding in a run, but getting close enough to them to fish them using tight line methods has been tough, even with a long (10') Euro nymphing rod. There's a limited radius where you can fish effectively before gravity starts to win and the line between the rodtip and surface start pulling your flies back toward you. If that radius is inside the distance where you spook fish...

The last couple trips on a MN river I've been fishing a lot lately, there has been one stretch that has been my nemesis when I fish through it with my Euro setup. It's a rather long straight run about 3-4 feet deep below a fairly heavy plunge pool and riffle. It's made doubly difficult by an eddy on the only side it's fishable from (the opposite bank is 10 feet high) with a very soft bottom - step into it too far and you end up kicking dirt in their faces.

I'd been able to catch fish out of it with an indicator, and on dries when there were midges hatching, but with my tight lining, if I caught one I was ready to declare victory, and I spooked way more fish than I caught. My last trip there was especially humiliating. There was a huge pod of fish lying just below the head of the run, and I just couldn't reach out enough to stay far enough to away and still get a decent drift.

It wasn't that they were just turned off either. Determined to see if they were catchable or not, I walked all the way back to the truck, came back with a different rod with a traditional floating indicator, and caught several. I just couldn't get close enough to tight line without spooking the things down.

So after that trip, I decided to look for solutions within the confines of a Euro nymph setup. I wanted to be able to effectively fish stretches like that one without completely rerigging (I loathe standing there tying knots when I could be casting), or worse yet, hiking back to the car for a different rod.

I'd messed around a little with floating French style leaders some, and doing some more research on it, it seemed like a valid approach. French style nymphing had evolved for sight fishing really shallow, really clear and heavily pressured streams, so I figured it'd be on the right track. I was already part way there - the leaders I use are basically French style to begin with, even though I was most often using them to fish Czech style with built in sighter and a tight line. With a few adjustments to my leader and fly selection, I figured I could make it work one way or another.

The first adjustment was going to a lighter butt section. My typical leader to this point has been 9 or 10 feet of #20 Maxima Chameleon, 3 feet of #15 (either Maxima Ultragreen or yellow Sufix Elite), and an 18" sighter of bi-color mono that ends in a tippet ring, which I tie my tippet to. I leave the tag ends on my sighter knots 2-3" long so they're easier to see. End to end it's @ 18-20 feet depending on how long my tippet is.

Thinking that a lighter butt section might give me a little more reach before sag started to pull my flies out of their drift, I changed the butt section to #15 Chameleon and the next section to #12 Ultragreen. The difference in how far away I could fish and still keep in contact with my point fly was pretty noticeable. Stretches where I'd had to wade in a ways to reach a seam on the other bank previously, I was now able to reach without stepping in nearly as far. During the summer getting in after them isn't usually an issue, but with low, clear winter water... The extra few feet of reach definitely made a difference.

But that still wouldn't give me enough to fish really slick water. When I got to my nemesis run, the water was even lower and clearer than when I'd been there the last time. Lovely. Time for Phase II of the Clever Plan.

Rather than putting on a suspending indicator (I'd tried that already, and if you think those things are tricky to cast with a normal tapered leader, try them on a more or less level leader 20 feet long...) I greased my sighter with paste style floatant - Loon Payette Paste. From having tried it in the past I knew that'd float the sighter, but only with a fairly light fly. The point flies I typically used (#14 or #16 with a 3 or 3.3mm tungsten bead) would drag the whole works down. I needed something that would sink enough to get to the bottom in 3-4 feet of water, but not so heavy that it's sink the sighter. So I swapped out my heavier point fly for a slender beatis nymph with a microtubing body and small dubbed thorax, tied on a #18 jig hook with a 2.2 mm bead. Above that about a foot I had a #20 midge pupa (midges had been hatching off and on all day) on a dropper.

After starting a ways downstream so I could get the hang of casting the thing (it doesn't exactly turn over gracefully but it got the job done) I moved up to the main part of the run. From a spot almost directly below where the fish were holding, I was able to make a tuck cast to quickly get the nymphs to the bottom. On the first cast, the sighter, which had been floating slightly curved on the surface, slowly started to straighten out. Huh. Swept the rod tip downstream, and was hooked up. I ended up catching 13 fish without moving my feet.

Here's what was interesting. With the floating sighter, I was able to cast about 40 feet fairly easily, but with the long leader, what fly line I did have on the water was still 20 feet from my fly, and it seemed like fish weren't bothered at all by even a bright colored sighter going over their heads. Far less than a fly line I think. For some of the run, I was casting directly upstream and drifting the flies back down over them, and got takes even after multiple casts. With the long tag ends on the sighter, I was still able to see it - and see the sighter move on a take - fairly easily even from a ways away.

What I really liked that I hadn't anticipated was how easily I could tell where my flies were relative to my sighter. One of my pet peeves about suspending indicators is it's hard to tell where your fly is relative to your indicator sometimes, and with Euro nymphing, I've gotten attached to knowing *exactly* where my bugs are throughout a drift. With the long sighter floating rather than the floatation at a fixed point on the leader, it was really, really easy to tell when my flies were in a different current seam than the rest of my leader even when those current seams weren't visible on the surface. As soon as I started to get drag, I could tell. I know some guys will use two floating indicators 12" apart to accomplish the same thing, but I hate casting even one of those things, much less two.

Once I kind of had the hang of a greased sighter, I tried a couple different things on a couple other, smaller slick runs later in the day.

One was a coiled sighter. Basically they're sighter monofilament coiled like a slinky. Greased with paste they're super visible, and strike detection is really easy - the slinky starts to stretch when a fish hits. The downside, at least for me, as that I didn't like fishing them when I was using a tight line - I got the feeling that the coil was sometimes bouncing my flies up and down, and it actually made strike detection while tight lining harder, not easier. So it's back to rerigging again. Plus, if you donk a cast and foul your leader with one of those things on, my Lord does it tangle.

The other thing I tried was a Sybai inline foam floating sighter. One of these :Sybai foam sighter. It worked...sort of. It'd float the flies fine, but it was really, really hard to see lying on the water. Any glare at all and you could pretty much forget it. Plus it was heavy enough to really cause sag when tight lining and too short to use alone as a tight line sighter anyhow. I'm glad I only bought one of them.

So. Pretty fun experiment, and I learned enough to make me think this opens a lot of options up for Euro style nymphing on some of the slow, slick spring creeks I'd kind of avoided trying it on. I also think there are some adjustments I can make to make it work better yet. A lot of French style leader formulas are tapered rather than the relatively level ones I use now, and I'm definitely going to tie some up to try them. I can see where they'll definitely turn over a lot better than the leader I was using. Man I hate blood knots going through my guides though....

I also may try going back to a stiffer #20 butt section to see if that turns over better than the #15 I was using. I suspect it may. That'd definitely be an improvement, because with the iffy turnover, accuracy past about 25 feet wasn't great.

If I get a chance, I'm also going to try floating a sighter with nymphs in the middle of the water column, like unweighted or very lightly weighted emerger patterns fished in the film or just below it. I think it'd work pretty well.

Anyhow - this is probably a lot of rambling nonsense, but I've learned a lot here, and thought I'd share in case anyone was interested in this whole Euro nymphing thing from a slightly different angle.


"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish."
- Roderick Haig-Brown
thanks 1 user thanked OTC_MN for this useful post.
weiliwen on 3/14/2018(UTC)
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big_river_bum  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, March 14, 2018 2:32:53 AM(UTC)
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sorry, I got about a third the way through that and my brain went haywire

more power to you, but you're operating on a way different level than me. if they rise, I try to catch them with dries. if not, I throw meat
weiliwen  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, March 14, 2018 1:36:30 PM(UTC)
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Thanks. It looks like you went about solving your challenge in a very scientific way. One of the reasons I never got much into Euro-nymphing styles was that Driftless fish are so spooky that I felt I'd need to cast from my knees at the extreme length of the rod. It looks like this is perhaps not the case.

In a lot of ways, I'm like Big River Bum. I am greedy enough that if I know one fly will work using methods I use now, that's what I'm gonna use. I haven't gotten to the point where I want to make things more challenging for myself to catch fish.
Bob Williams, "Weiliwen"
bokepid  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, March 14, 2018 2:12:15 PM(UTC)
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terima kasih
William Schlafer  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, March 14, 2018 3:27:22 PM(UTC)
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I once tried high stick nymphing with that little jiggling action to coax reluctant Trout to bite. I found that I'm just not patient enough to make it work. I'm more of a 2-3 casts and move on to the next spot kinda guy. I like covering lots of water and always want to see what's around the next bend.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
thanks 1 user thanked William Schlafer for this useful post.
weiliwen on 3/14/2018(UTC)
OTC_MN  
#6 Posted : Thursday, March 15, 2018 2:51:33 PM(UTC)
OTC_MN
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Originally Posted by: William Schlafer Go to Quoted Post
I once tried high stick nymphing with that little jiggling action to coax reluctant Trout to bite. I found that I'm just not patient enough to make it work. I'm more of a 2-3 casts and move on to the next spot kinda guy. I like covering lots of water and always want to see what's around the next bend.


-Bill


Honestly, I think I can cover more water Euro nymphing a lot of the time. To me it's just so efficient - your fly is barely out of the water between drifts, and you can put your fly right where it needs to be in a seam without worrying about current seams between you and the one you're targeting messing up your drift. Don't have to mend, reach cast, or any of that stuff. Do tuck cast a lot though.

I will say though that trying to fish this way with a standard rod/line/leader setup is an exercise in frustration.

Like I said, it definitely has its limitations - everything does to one degree or another - but in the right circumstances it's a ton of fun. I love how visual and tactile it is. I can feel a #16 bead head bumping bottom, and you feel a lot of fish hit. Everyone knows how hard they hit streamers, and that's part of the fun, but man, they really truck nymphs sometimes too.
"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish."
- Roderick Haig-Brown
big_river_bum  
#7 Posted : Friday, March 16, 2018 2:14:12 AM(UTC)
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thanks for this thread otc

I came back and reread the post and it definitely gave me some things to think about

is euro nymphing big on waters like the henrys fork?

I think we all can agree slow slick water with active fish presents some difficult problems in regards to approach

some of my most memorable fish have been on slack water on tainter creek. making pinpoint casts 50 or 60 feet out and across the stream with dry midge patterns and not spooking the fish from simply casting is very satisfying. usually if I land one like that I get up, light a cigarette and walk upstream the rest of the pool. i'll only ruin my temper and patience if I try for another fish there Flapper

I would think presenting multiple flies on slack water would create splash and spook fish. is this the reason for the super long leader? sorry I know nothing of nymphing or euro-nymphing
HuggyBear  
#8 Posted : Friday, March 16, 2018 3:24:35 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: big_river_bum Go to Quoted Post
thanks for this thread otc

I came back and reread the post and it definitely gave me some things to think about

is euro nymphing big on waters like the henrys fork?

I think we all can agree slow slick water with active fish presents some difficult problems in regards to approach

some of my most memorable fish have been on slack water on tainter creek. making pinpoint casts 50 or 60 feet out and across the stream with dry midge patterns and not spooking the fish from simply casting is very satisfying. usually if I land one like that I get up, light a cigarette and walk upstream the rest of the pool. i'll only ruin my temper and patience if I try for another fish there Flapper

I would think presenting multiple flies on slack water would create splash and spook fish. is this the reason for the super long leader? sorry I know nothing of nymphing or euro-nymphing




I would like to know the same. Is chucking that much gear spooking the hell out of the fish? Or are you casting well above their holding zone?
OTC_MN  
#9 Posted : Friday, March 16, 2018 4:09:44 PM(UTC)
OTC_MN
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Originally Posted by: big_river_bum Go to Quoted Post
thanks for this thread otc

I came back and reread the post and it definitely gave me some things to think about

is euro nymphing big on waters like the henrys fork?

I think we all can agree slow slick water with active fish presents some difficult problems in regards to approach

some of my most memorable fish have been on slack water on tainter creek. making pinpoint casts 50 or 60 feet out and across the stream with dry midge patterns and not spooking the fish from simply casting is very satisfying. usually if I land one like that I get up, light a cigarette and walk upstream the rest of the pool. i'll only ruin my temper and patience if I try for another fish there Flapper

I would think presenting multiple flies on slack water would create splash and spook fish. is this the reason for the super long leader? sorry I know nothing of nymphing or euro-nymphing


Not sure about Euro nymphing on big water as I haven't done it personally but I know people do.

And definitely, there's times when catching one fish in a situation is worth declaring victory.

As far as multiple flies, long leaders, etc., with French style nymphing that's definitely the reason for the long leaders. I guess the thinking is a mono leader lands a lot more lightly than flyline or an indicator. I don't think small flies landing cause much disturbance, especially compared to an indicator like a Thingamabobber does. The other thing is when you're adjusting a drift by mending or something, and lifting line off the water to cast, a floated leader makes a lot less of a racket than
an indicator.
"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish."
- Roderick Haig-Brown
OTC_MN  
#10 Posted : Friday, March 16, 2018 4:16:19 PM(UTC)
OTC_MN
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Originally Posted by: HuggyBear Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: big_river_bum Go to Quoted Post
thanks for this thread otc

I came back and reread the post and it definitely gave me some things to think about

is euro nymphing big on waters like the henrys fork?

I think we all can agree slow slick water with active fish presents some difficult problems in regards to approach

some of my most memorable fish have been on slack water on tainter creek. making pinpoint casts 50 or 60 feet out and across the stream with dry midge patterns and not spooking the fish from simply casting is very satisfying. usually if I land one like that I get up, light a cigarette and walk upstream the rest of the pool. i'll only ruin my temper and patience if I try for another fish there Flapper

I would think presenting multiple flies on slack water would create splash and spook fish. is this the reason for the super long leader? sorry I know nothing of nymphing or euro-nymphing




I would like to know the same. Is chucking that much gear spooking the hell out of the fish? Or are you casting well above their holding zone?


Well, I'm casting a size #16 or #18 with a bead head and an unweighted size 20, on a 6x tippet, so it's really pretty stealthy. Obviously can't bomb it right on their heads but I was actually pretty impressed with how many times I could cast to the same area and still get hit. I know the French guys will cast a single unweighted nymph when they're sight fishing.

"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish."
- Roderick Haig-Brown
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