We hope that you are as excited about the Rainbow Trout release in Eagle Creek as we are. It is going to be a lot of fun having these fish back in the creek. With the stocking just around the corner, we wanted to share a great way to pursue these fish - Euro Nymphing.
What is Euro Nymphing?
While not a new technique, it is still new concept to most anglers. A simple way of viewing this tactic is nymphing without the use of a suspension device (indicator). As the name implies, this method was pioneered in various European countries, with each having a unique variation. The most popular method for our area and a lot of the US waterways is Czech Nymphing, which is highly effective and tends to outperform any other nymphing method.
Euro Nymphing Gear
One of the first things fly anglers notice with Euro Nymphing is the use of some specialized fly gear, specifically the rod and leaders. The rods used for this method are longer and more sensitive than a traditional single-handed rod. Rods range 10’0” to 11’6”, most being 2-5wt. For a great all-around length and weight for most applications, we would recommend a 10’6” With the increased popularity of this nymphing style, most rod manufactures have produced several options of Euro Nymphing rod families. Some of our favorites have been the ECHO Carbon XL family and the Redington Strike.
Line and leaders are also unique for this form of fishing. The line is very similar to that of the running/shooting line found on a standard weight forward fly line. The line is a small diameter that allows for sensitivity as it is being fished through the guides. The leader, just like the rod, is longer than the average 9ft. trout or bass leader. Most leaders are 10ft-14ft in length before the tippet is added.
The whole leader can be broken-down into 4 parts - butt section, sighter, tippet ring, and tippet. The sighter portion of the leader is a multi-color section around 2ft in length. This acts like an indicator, helping the angler to see any subtle twitches (strikes) in the line. At the end of the sighter is a tippet ring. This allows the angler to add whatever size tippet they would like to us. Most popular is 5x Fluorocarbon. The section of tippet can be varied in length based on the depth the angler is fishing. Both RIO and Scientific Anglers offers premade leader packs for Euro Nymphing.
Most of the flies used in Euro Nymphing have 2 distinct features - tied on a jig style hook and has tungsten weight. While fishing flies tied on jig hooks is not a necessity, it allows for increased hookups and less flies lost to the river bottom. Having flies tied with tungsten weight is important. Tungsten is a very dense metal, more so than brass. This helps the flies get down faster, especially in current. We fish flies in tandem when nymphing. For Czech Nymphing, we place the larger/heavier fly on the bottom, which helps get the rig down in the water column more quickly.
How Do I Fish a Euro Nymph Rig?
Euro Nymphing is most effective when fishing an area just in front of you and slightly down stream. Distance can be anywhere from a few feet to 15 ft. in front of you. Utilizing the Czech Nymphing style, you fish across and down. Extend your arm holding the rod out from your body. You will lead the flies downstream. The goal is to keep the leader almost vertical and the sighter section just above the water line. This will allow you to feel and see any strikes. Just like nymphing with an indicator, you will want to fish the water like a grid. Fish close to you first, and then start moving the drift out. After you feel you have covered the water effectively, take a step or two downstream and repeat.
Euro Nymphing is a great way to get out on the water and have success. It can be a lot to take in at once, but there are a lot of good resources for more information. George Daniel has a great book covering all aspects of it - Dynamic Nymphing. This is a great reference for rigging and understanding on how to read water.