Nymph Fishing: “That’s not even fly fishing”

When I first moved to Colorado I spent a fair amount of time fishing tailwaters and my favorite, at the time, was the Taylor and to this day I still really enjoy fishing the Taylor top to bottom. One particular year I rented a cabin for a couple nights and went on a solo trip to Almont, CO.  As you know getting to the Taylor early in the morning is often necessary to find a decent “spot” on the River. Well my spot is a little further down river from the ” Hog Trough”  so I posted up early and started nymphing the crystal clear water in front of me. All was going well and I was keeping the rod bent pretty consistently. Then around 10 am an older gentlemen perched up next to me, I am talking about 4 rod lengths next tome me and started to rig up. I figured the old bugger was just going to analyze the run and move on. Nope he started casting right next to me. Fair enough I understand that it is a busy river and what did I care, I was hooking plenty of fish and this guy was no harm. So I thought. Turns out that this fella was kind of a dick and start to give me grief about nymph fishing even though he was (poorly) casting a prince nymph anywhere he could land it and swinging it through about 6 inches of water. His buddy was fishing the other side of the river casting small dry flies into insanely turbulent water and having no luck. I stayed true to my bobber set-up and continued to hook trout in can-of-wormsfront of these “experts.” Finally the two got together and started to have the usual conversation, How are things going? what are they eating etc.. I could hear their entire conversation as I continued to Nymph. I heard his buddy say ” oh well what he is doing is not even fly fishing, he might as well be using worms.” I bit my tongue and just as their conversation was over my bobber danced and I laced into a big Rainbow Trout. The fish danced all through the water jumping and splashing until I successfully netted the trout (thank god because I don’t think I would have lived it down if I had lost it). My audience watch as I let the fish swim out of my net and with a smile on my face I looked up and asked ” do you guys want some worms?”

I bring this story up because it seems that fly fishing has become all about how you are fishing. For trout, dry fly and streamer techniques seem to out-weight the common nymphing practice and if you do happen to catch a fish of a lifetime on a nymph anglers turn a cold shoulder. For Steelhead and Salmon it is all about the swing I see hash tags on people’s images #swingorgohome and if you are nymphing for either of the above mentioned you might be cast straight into hell.

I do not care how you choose to fish whether it is fly fishing, live bait or spin gear, in fact I have done all three and like all of them. I do prefer the feel of a fly rod but I will still be your friend if you choose the latter. I hope as anglers we can move away from how you catch fish and look at it as FISHING. We all (well most) started with a worm and a bobber, I am pretty sure your parents didn’t have you throwing a snap t and swinging for your first sunfish. It is all about having fun let’s make sure to keep it that way.


Fall Nymphing: Fly Selection

As badly as I want summer to stick around the leaves are starting to fall and I know the white stuff will soon cover our state. The Brown Trout are starting to move into spawning lies and the blue wings are dominating the hatch scene on many of our drainages. For me this means tightening up on my nymphing skills and working on my hooksets with smaller sub surface nymph patterns. I have noticed on my last couple outings that my nymphing game has gotten a little sloppy and my hook to land ratio is not what it once was. That will improve as nymphing becomes the most productive way to get the net wet over the next few weeks, but right I am rusty.


Now is the time to start finding autumn fly patterns that you have confidence in and putting them in the box. I know streamers are a great way to find big aggressive fish but it is not always the most effective technique. In fact streamer fishing can sometimes be downright brutal. Lately the bobber has been putting more fish in the net than my beloved technique of stripping chicken feathers. So I am asking for your top three go to nymph patterns for the fall. Lately all I have needed is a JuJu Baetis but I know that will soon be off the menu. So for now here are my top three fall nymph patterns.


1- Olive Micro May – This is a great all around fly for both spring and fall. The bead head is perfect as a lead fly in a two or three fly set up. It is also great for a dropper when fish are feeding just under the surface.


2- Gray Flashback RS2 – i like to call it the Rizzdee because RS2 is too difficult for me to say. This is a great pattern for fish that are keyed in on smaller emerging BWO’s. I like to fish it light and on swing. Try to carry them both with and without a glass bead head.


3 – JuJu Baetis – This is another nymph pattern that will carry you through most of the year. Simple tie that just looks buggy and hooks a ton of fish. I like to use this as the trailing fly in my nymph set up.



Ok I know that these are not super secret patterns and i am sure that you have a bunch in your box. What is working for you?