Is Nymphing Really Fly Fishing | Answered

Yes, nymphing is a type of fly fishing where the angler uses a special type of leader and flies to catch fish. Conventional fly fishing methods include casting to visible fish, while nymphing simulates the action of an insect at the surface of the water. To understand nymphing let us first understand what is fly fishing.

What Is Fly fishing?

There is no undisputed definition of what is “fly fishing” and this debate will probably never end.  However, regardless of how you define it, most would agree that fly fishing involves using a long ‘pole’ to cast a lightweight line with a hook and some type of bait or lure attached to the end of it.

You then present that bait or lure to fish in order to hook them and catch them.  You can then take the fish off the hook and throw it back in, or enjoy a wonderful dinner with your family.

What Is Nymphing?

Nymphing can be described as “an angling method in which an artificial ‘nymph’ or freshwater insect larva is floated downstream beneath the surface of the water to simulate actual nymphs drifting naturally along with the current.”

This is repeated several times during the drift of the fly. The fly itself has the hook buried in a lure such as a bead head nymph or pupa, which simulates an emerging insect.

Nymphing can be done with either floating or sinking flies and leaders, but most modern anglers prefer to use a floating leader and flies that sink slowly.

In rivers, nymphs are cast across streams and allowed to swing in the current. In lakes or still water, a downstream presentation is used with the line held up in a manner similar to a drift-fishing method but allowing deeper nymphing because of the sinking leader.

Nymphing is an effective method to catch trout when fishing water with low visibility due to turbid, off-color, or rainwater. It can also be used when streamers are needed in deeper water.

A sink tip line is used when nymphing in rivers so the fly hangs in the current at the desired depth. When casting, the leader is allowed to swing freely.

This type of nymphing is referred to as “Euro Nymphing” and has gained popularity due to its successful use by many anglers in Europe. An alternative method for fishing lakes or ponds is to use a floating line and short leader with heavy tippet material.

Difference Between Nymphing and Euro Nymphing?

Nymphing is a method of angling that involves using artificial flies and casting them to likely feeding fish. Euro nymphing is a specialized form of streamer fishing designed to target salmonids in both still waters and rivers.

Salmonids are often found beneath or just behind cover such as riffles, runs, pools, and undercut banks.

When a fish is hooked it’s important to maintain control as they will often jump, dive and run across the surface, thrashing the water into the foam, making good presentation extremely difficult. In these situations, fishing with a short 1-3m leader to prevent break-offs becomes essential.

In order to reduce resistance and provide a natural presentation, the line is held downstream of the angler and behind the boat not above as in traditional nymphing techniques. Euro nymphing does not involve casting heavyweights which makes it appealing to modern-day fishers who enjoy fishing on foot.

It is also ideal for rivers where a lighter tippet provides increased fish-fighting and hooking abilities.

One of the biggest benefits to Euro nymphing is that it can be done in very shallow water by wading out using your feet rather than your knees.

Depth control becomes easier as well, which makes casting more accurate and reduces the chance of fly line spooking fish or getting hung up on the bottom.

Anchoring into position can be done using slip-stopper strike indicators, allowing you to fish ‘high and tight’ with long leaders and light tippets. Unlike traditional nymphing where anglers often use their feet or wading staffs to steady themselves, Euro nymphing techniques don’t require as much physical effort.

In addition to this, Euro nymphing is ideal for those who love high-action fly fishing but dislike the pain associated with kneeling down and sitting on rocks and gravel. It’s also perfect for stream anglers that like to take photos or film their fishing adventures as there is no need to kneel in the water. This gives you free access to your equipment and increased action when hooking and playing fish.

Many fly fishers will learn the foundations of nymphing techniques such as drift fishing, using strike indicators, rigging up for wind, etc… before moving on to Euro nymphing in order to gain a full understanding of the benefits, techniques, and capabilities of this form of fishing.

Euro nymphing is an advanced form of ‘high-stick’ angling that involves good preparation, equipment knowledge, and choosing the best locations to fish in order to increase your catch rate.

It’s common for Euro nymph fishers to carry adjustable quick-change rods with them that are capable of fishing both Euro nymphing and traditional wet fly techniques.

On average, you will need to cast around 6ft past the fish before the fly starts to work its way back in order to cover any likely lies ahead. This is where having a quick-change rod comes in handy as you can quickly change from Euro nymphing to traditional wet fly techniques depending on the kind of water you are fishing.

By sinking your line with a small split shot before casting, you stop flies from bobbing up and down in the current which allows them to drift naturally just above the river bottom.

What Is Czech Nymphing?

Czech nymphing is a style of fishing that involves using weighted flies and managing the drift of your rig to imitate an adult insect struggling at the end of its life cycle. The classic Czech method uses a straight section of line with a small amount of weight and a dropper tied below with one, two, or three flies.

These files are kept in a vertical plane at around 30cm to 40 cm away from the mainline. For a right-handed caster, the flies will drift along an upstream and slightly across the course, for a left-handed caster they will drift down and across.

Can You Fish Trouts with Nymphing

Yes, you can fish trouts with nymphing. You can fish trout with nymphs. You can fish trout with multiple flies. The only thing you can’t do is catch huge trout with nymphs, but I’m sure those guys don’t really care about it.

Trouts live in very specific types of waters and they are mostly shallow streams or lakes where the water flows slowly and the bottom is covered with a thick layer of aquatic with nymphing.

The most used method to fish trouts with nymphing is called Czech Nymphing and it’s basically positioning your fly in the middle of the stream and leading it crossing the current so you can get a bit downstream and create a slow and natural drift. It was originally used by Czech anglers for fishing trout using nymphs.

Common Mistakes in Nymphing:

a) Fails to use a strike indicator.

b) Uses too much weight when nymphing.

c) Uses the wrong fly and doesn’t match it to the hatch.

d) Doesn’t watch his drift carefully and ‘blows’ his chance of hooking a trout by pulling away or casting too far upstream.

e) Keeps the fly in one spot for too long, not giving it enough time to get downstream.

f) Fails to fish upstream from where fish are rising or holding – fishes ‘downstream’ only!

g) Drags his flies along the bottom instead of vertically through the water column.

h) Adds unnecessary lead to the line, making the fly lie too deep.

i) Spends too long playing a fish and not enough time trying to catch another one.

j) Choosing the wrong areas of water for nymphing (too fast or shallow).

k) Fails to make effective use of his nymphs by fishing them at all depths, or by not drifting them properly.

Nymphing is the art of fishing bait or fly at or near the bottom with a very long leader and tippet material on a floating line. The rig can be either weightless (a “dry-dropper” type) with two flies, or weighted to sink with a single fly. Nymphing with two flies is called “nymphing double” or “double nymphing”. it is considered by many to be the most effective way to fish subsurface in clear water, but not always best.

Although most modern anglers use an indicator along with their rig, others prefer to fish without one. If the fish are finicky, an angler might start with indicator nymphing and change to non-indicator when he decides he is not getting bit properly.

Advantages of Nymphing Are as Follows:

– Better presentation of the fly.

– More natural drift because you are imitating the insects that trout eat.

– Potential to catch more fish because there are no hookups missed due to poor fly selection or line management (fly selection and line management become even more important).

-A direct connection allows nymphing to improve strike detection. You’re always ready to set the hook because no mending is required.

– Allows a more stealthy approach because you can get within inches of trout without giving your presence away.

Nymphing also allows you to cover water that would otherwise be left untouched if using dry fly or standard nymph fishing. Nymphing is fun and exciting, especially when the fish are aggressive and strikes are violent!

Disadvantages of Nymphing Are as Follows:

– You have to get your flies in the trout’s face. When you are standing on the banks, your fly is usually not where it should be unless you do some pathfinding beforehand. This takes time. To alleviate this problem, put yourself up on a high spot where you can see the best path to your fly.

– You have to be able to mend line well, especially near the banks where it seems that trout are more easily spooked.

– If you don’t know what you are doing, there is a good chance that you will not catch any fish at all.

– Because you are near the banks and casting into the middle of a stream, your fly can be seen by fish in faster currents which will spook them.

What Is a Nymphing Fly Line?

The drifting ability of a nymphing fly line is better. Lines designed specifically for nymphing have greater buoyancy than normal fly lines because nymphing rigs frequently incorporate hefty flies or weights. They accomplish this by decreasing the density of the fly line.


To summarize, nymphing is a popular fishing technique that requires a medium-to-high level of skill. If you have the time and patience to learn it, then nymphing could be an excellent way for you to catch some trout or other types of fish in ponds and lakes. We do hope you have found this blog post on fly fishing interesting. If so, please feel free to share it with your friends and family!