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Scuds / Czech Nymphs

Czech Nymphs and Scud Flies

Czech nymphing – sometimes using ‘Scuds’ (freshwater shrimp) – is as much a fly fishing technique as a style of pattern. These are heavier flies, fished on short leaders in fast-flowing water, perhaps after heavy rain, or just in stretches of a river or stream which tend more to rapids. These ‘searching’ patterns can be fun to fish if there is no hatch taking place, in unpredictable weather, or even just if you’re on a new and unfamiliar stretch of water and unsure what to try.

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More about Czech Nymphs

Patterns in either grey or olive can be a good match for caseless Caddis larvae, particularly the abundant Rhyacophila or Hydropsyche. These more sober colors also imitate Scuds in their day to day life, but more vivid flies are not unnatural either (representing molt or death), and even the most ‘disco’ of fly patterns can attract trout in particular, who love things that flash. Czech Nymphs often work best in deeper water, where it is necessary to get the fly down through a fast-flowing upper current to reach calmer areas like trenches or holes, the lee of rocks, and other breaks in the current – all places that many insect larvae keep to in order to avoid being swept away.

More about Scud Flies

Freshwater shrimps generally prefer slower flowing and cleaner backwaters, and some can live in ponds. Wherever there is dense underwater vegetation they will generally be found, often in the shallows. Full of protein and fat, and not particularly fast swimmers, they present a fairly easy mouthful for a trout. Most commonly grey, olive or tan colored, Scuds do turn orange or pink when they shed their skin or when they die. Where there are significant and sudden falls in water level, they can be stranded and die in some numbers, presenting especially easy pickings when the level rises again. Fishing the appropriate pattern either deep (as living prey) or on a dead drift with the current (especially after changes in water level) can work at all times of year.

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