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Standard Nymphs

Nymphs for Trout

It seems obvious that trout spend most of their waking lives looking for food under the surface of their stream, river or lake. Nymphing predates dry fly fishing by hundreds of years, but was discredited somewhat in the 19th Century when elitist members’ clubs proclaimed dry patterns the ‘right’ way to fish. Thankfully things have changed: today, all but a few die-hard purists see nymphing as not just respectable, but even sensible.

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More about using Nymphs for Trout

As with other types of fishing fly, nymph patterns fall into two camps. There are those that mimic a specific family of insect (or even a few closely-related species), and those that are generic and just ‘buggy’. Often referred to as ‘attractor’ or ‘searching’ patterns, these flies pass for a variety of different insects because some feature of the pattern – whether material, construction or color – convinces trout to try a bite. We’d recommend you make room for both in your fly box.

Ways to fish with Nymphs

Aquatic insect larvae in running water also fall into two camps: those that swim, and those that do not. Unless they are about to hatch, the non-swimmers avoid trout as they crawl around in between and under rocks and vegetation. Only when dislodged do they present trout with an easy meal, either tumbling along the bottom or floating dead drift with the current. The swimmers also frequent the river bottom because the water flows slower there and they can seek shelter.

Trout themselves generally hold within a foot from the bottom in order to expend minimum energy and be where the food is most of the time. How far they will move for a mouthful depends on a few things: how warm and clear the water is; what and how much food they expect to see; and just how interested they are in this particular morsel. Most anglers agree that the weight of a nymph is the most important factor because it is this that enables a well-chosen pattern in terms of appearance to also move in a convincing manner at the right depth.

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