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Although I'm not a snob, I cannot bring myself to nymph for steelhead. For me, it's all about the take on the swing.

Earlier this fall while fishing the GR my friends would nymph the exact same water that I had just swung and were doing very well on nymphs. I know that I was in front of these fish because it wasn't deep water and I was occasionally touching bottom and using very similar patterns, but the fish didn't seem to like the swing.

Any thoughts? Thanks!
 

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Hopeless Romantic...
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Fish more often hang in the lower potion of the water column than the higher, it's that simple, some will argue to the death that it aint so, but that's the reality, and it is compounded when the water gets cold...
Put the chitlins right in their grill more often, instead of a few feet above their grill, and you'll get bit more often, it's really that simple... The only thing I have against nymphing is that it is truly laborious and physically miserable to do... But if you want a challenge, try it without an indicator, way tougher than swinging flies, it will test your "mental prowess" like no other...
 

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A fish's Diet

Is 80+ % nymphs- constant food source, programmed naturally, spend their early years of life hiding and eating nymphs
 

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Although I'm not a snob, I cannot bring myself to nymph for steelhead. For me, it's all about the take on the swing.

Earlier this fall while fishing the GR my friends would nymph the exact same water that I had just swung and were doing very well on nymphs. I know that I was in front of these fish because it wasn't deep water and I was occasionally touching bottom and using very similar patterns, but the fish didn't seem to like the swing.

Any thoughts? Thanks!


lead fished slowly...
 

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Yep

"The only thing I have against nymphing is that it is truly laborious and physically miserable to do... But if you want a challenge, try it without an indicator, way tougher than swinging flies, it will test your "mental prowess" like no other...[/QUOTE]"

Geezus, isn't that the truth? Flipping a bobber upstream and watching it constantly for any little tic is a PITA. High-sticking and other "contact" drift techniques work but really are work. Maybe I swing flies because I'm lazy, laying out that kind of cast is fun, and if I do it right fish generally hook themselves.
Jed
 

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Nymphing is more effective because you are bringing the fly to the fish. With swinging, you are seeking to draw the fish off it's lie to take your fly. Typically, a smaller percentage of fish sitting in a run are willing to move off station to take our flies so, when we are swinging, we are leaving money on the table as we search for the players in a run.

For those of us that swing, we generally accept that methods like nymphing are more effective, but...... is being more effective really the point???

We sacrifice quantity for what we perceive as a very special experience when we get the addicting take to the swung fly.

Todd
 

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Nymphing is more effective because you are bringing the fly to the fish. With swinging, you are seeking to draw the fish off it's lie to take your fly. Typically, a smaller percentage of fish sitting in a run are willing to move off station to take our flies so, when we are swinging, we are leaving money on the table as we search for the players in a run.

For those of us that swing, we generally accept that methods like nymphing are more effective, but...... is being more effective really the point???

We sacrifice quantity for what we perceive as a very special experience when we get the addicting take to the swung fly.

Todd

That was excellently presented :whoa:
 

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Well said 808steelheader.

The same could also be said removing the word nymphing and putting fishing with gear in its place.

It all works, the method you wish to use depends on what you are trying to accomplish and how you are looking to spend your time on the water.
 

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Well said 808steelheader.

The same could also be said removing the word nymphing and putting fishing with gear in its place.

It all works, the method you wish to use depends on what you are trying to accomplish and how you are looking to spend your time on the water.
Agreed. One could even go a step further and see swinging flies as a good conservation measure. The method inherently limits the number of hookups one will get which can be a good thing - a self imposed reduction in effectiveness - because even catch and release causes mortality and when too many steelhead (or other fish) are caught and released too many times, it becomes like allowing "harvest" without the retention of wild fish.

Sometimes I hear of folks getting crazy numbers of wild steelhead on gear or while nymphing and I wonder to myself just how many steelhead does a guy need to catch and release in a day to be happy?? Heck, during certain times on certain rivers, it's also possible to get good numbers of hookups on the swung fly as well, so some self restraint, even with catch and release, is important for the sake of the resource.

Todd
 

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Sometimes I hear of folks getting crazy numbers of wild steelhead on gear or while nymphing and I wonder to myself just how many steelhead does a guy need to catch and release in a day to be happy??
One fish per season will do it for me, if it's the right fish. You know, that fish.
 

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"The same could also be said removing the word nymphing and putting fishing with gear in its place."

There are many facets in fishing. I've never thought the actual presentation of swinging a spoon to be much different than a fly.. differences in delivery noted.

troutless.. Right on! :smokin:
 

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Nymphs are usually dead drifted and a dead drifted nymph is as natural as it gets! Natural food source with the right presentation ,it is a deadly technique! Way to much work for me, I'd rather just cast and swing and step and move. Numbers vs. a take on a swung fly, I'll take the swung fly all day long:hihi:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you everyone for your thoughts. Great info. I guess the comment that makes the most sense to me is that nymphing presents a more natural presentation. I still struggle with that theory given that most people would agree that these fish aren't actually eating, but rather reacting to something invading their territory.
 

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the most effective steelhead techniques have nothing to do with natural presentations..


Pulling plugs, even drifting cured roe is not natural at all the slower you make your presentation the more effective it is going to be slow and on the bottom is not natural for any for source for steelhead

if someone would develop a fly that was buoyant and fished it with a bunch of lead 1 foot off the bottom slower than the current they's have a winning combination.
 

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I think the real question is what rocks your boat, numbers, or the hunt? For myself its fishing for those fresh fish that are aggressive takers. The GR this year was low and warm, however, we were successful swinging drys. The same was the case on the Clear and Snake. But then again what rocks your boat?
 

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I would just repeat everything else said to comment on this thread but I just thought I'd comment on how awesome you are Todd! I like the way you think!
 

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I would just repeat everything else said to comment on this thread but I just thought I'd comment on how awesome you are Todd! I like the way you think!
Jabrowning24:
Thanks for your kind words. As I thought of what I wrote, I realized that I was basically repeating the spirit and philosophy behind the angling regulations on the North Umpqua fly water, where indicator nymphing is unlawful. This regulation came into being due to the effectiveness of indicator nymphing and concerns over wild steelhead being caught and released multiple times and the resulting mortality. Even with this restriction in place, the NU is as popular as ever and offers a quality angling experience. I would not be displeased if similar regulations were put into place on select other waters as well.

Best Regards,

Todd
 

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I apologize up front...just throwing out thoughts. You probably already know all of this so sorry again....

You said 'last fall' and the water temps were PRIME right into Nov. this year. Dunno when you were out so maybe it was during the cold spell and then of course low and slow is better. Same can be said when the sun is bright. They are NOTICEABLY harder to get to take a swung fly under the sun. Even using tips. Were your buddies doing more damage after 10am or so? Or about an hour after the sun was full on flooding your pools? Was the heat of summer still out, pushing the water temps back in the low to mid 60's and more? Were you fishing big flies on a skagit with t-something that is so popular? Or something smaller and sparser? I wouldn't hesitate to fish the heavier tips and bigger flies when the water gets colder...somewhere between 42F and 48F. Sometimes when the water is warmer and you get a cold night, dropping the temp 5F or so (but still in the mega prime 50F range)...they can get goofy for a while and a type 3 tip will spank 'em...until the evening. But not very often.

Fishing pressure pounding the water you are also sharing does funky things to the fish. They will still take nymphs like candy (and some are undoubtedly lined but most take it fair and square) because they just do. Your buddies nymphing the water behind you is making it that much harder for your next pass. Whenever that is. There are only so many fish in a run and so many that are going to move that day. They are getting your fish and theirs too. It isn't like fish that are 'takers' to a swung fly are going to deny that nymph being repeatedly pushed into their faces. And maybe the water they are pounding them in isn't the best in terms of getting a fish to take a swung fly.

Bringing this back around...if the conditions are prime with good water flows and temps still in the 50's...if you know your water on that river you should be getting a fish or 2 or or 3, possibly more per day on wakers. Without having to fish very hard. Let alone just swinging wets on a dryline barely under the surface. This is where paying dues comes in. Knowing which rock they like to sit by on a regular basis. Knowing where in the riffles and tails. Knowing where in and round the structure. Tons of structure on that little creek. Knowing exactly what time a run goes back into the shade or comes under full sun.

It is also well known those fish will at times refuse a fly fished on a tip yet you can catch 8 in an hour with the dryline. While this goes back quite a few years I have seen a guy raise and mess around with 14 fish in one run over a couple of hours. Guy on the opposing bank fishing a tip gets NOTHING for over an hour. Not a single pull or pluck. Finally coaxed into getting his dryline out...exact same pool he had been fishing through twice before...it took 10 minutes for him to hook 4 and land 3 of them. There are no absolutes but I have rarely ever felt the need to fish deep until it gets cold on that creek.
 

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Fish more often hang in the lower potion of the water column than the higher, it's that simple, some will argue to the death that it aint so, but that's the reality, and it is compounded when the water gets cold...
Put the chitlins right in their grill more often, instead of a few feet above their grill, and you'll get bit more often, it's really that simple... The only thing I have against nymphing is that it is truly laborious and physically miserable to do... But if you want a challenge, try it without an indicator, way tougher than swinging flies, it will test your "mental prowess" like no other...
i like your thoughts on this subject

im awful at nymphing. Id rather use a centerpin. What I dont like about nymphing is guys will sit over fish and drift them for hours till they hit, and the fish are usually at their feet (usually redds). I have nothing against with nymphers who will wade around and search for fish and cover water.

I simply think its more effective cause fish are lasy and dont want to move lol
 
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