Grande Ronde HELP 11/2-11/4

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Nate Dutton, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. I personally like to swing flies for steelhead but I learned how to fly fish steelhead using an indicator and Nymph. The Key is to do what you like best and who cares what others think. If you want to have a better chance to catch some fish I would fish the Nymph. You'll soon find that you will make changes to the way you fish by what you like best and not what others think is correct.

    How can you make the comment that swinging a sink tip is Nymphing. First off if I cast strait out or at a 45 deg down stream with a tight line to the fly that is not Nymphing. If I cast at a 45 deg up and High stick throught the hole that could be considered Nymphing, but I can also cast up and dead drift the top and then tighten up and swing the bottom and I would be doing both. Just because your using a sink tip doesn't mean your always numphing.

    And why is it that you can be a flyfisherman and fish an indicator and nymph for trout but if you do the same for steelhead now your not a flyfisherman. To me that is being a flysnob.
  2. I think either way that is still swinging. With sink tip and a short leader (which most fish with a sink tip), I am pretty sure there is very little true dead drift occuring. Also depending on the water, a cast upstream may still be needed to a get a perfect swing. Ofcourse there are purists who would say otherwise but they are clearly holier than thou.

    I think that nymphing gets a bad rap when people use indicators because that is pretty much exactly how the gear guys fish with floats. If you have a heavy fly dangling below an indicator than you are def. not swinging.
  3. I'm not going to argue with you, it's my opinion based on my defintion. When you are indicator nymphing, do you swing your fly all the way through to the hang-down? if not, you are missing alot of fish. That's how you swing a sink tip or flaoting line. Now, how you swing a tip is vastly different than how I do it. I rarely ever cast out in front of myslef or below. With sink tips I cast above my body, mend upstream, prep the line for the depth and speed I want, then swing it through the run.

    I don't know why this would be a confusing concept:confused:. If I cast a sink tip like a describe above, especailly a type 6 or more, and follow the line with a dead drift- searching the bottom for fish, that is more nymphing than swinging. Swinging is neither a dead drift nor forcing the fly through the swing, but rather a steady pace that activates movement in the profile of the fly therefor moving a player. What is being described with this slow dead drift presentation with a fast sinking line is hitting a fish on the nose. Better yet, if I was to throw an active pulsating pattern on, it would not get the required movement in the profile to move a fish with the technique described. I could certianly throw a nymph on however and pick up fish with this technique--- kind of like nymphing without an indicator on a sinking line. In fact this is primarly how I trout fish. You don't need an indicator or floating line to nymph in my opinion.
  4. Jbuehler,

    No argument there indies and heavy flies are not swinging.
  5. I agree 100%

    My point was that nymphing gets a bad rap because of the modern forms of nymphing such as a heavy fly and a strike indicator.

    I believe that many of our founding fathers who we think of as purists would have cast upstream and mended and "nymphed" as you described if they thought it would hook them to a steelhead.

    I realize that there are uber purists who think everything should be dry flies to visible, feeding fish. I realize purists come in all forms and types but I am talking about the S River founding fathers we all read about in the books written in the Pacific NW (Wahl, Lamire, Combs, et cetera)

    They would never have accepted a huge heavy fly (essentailly a jig) floating below an indicator (essentially a float) and that setup is what the purists I am talking about have a problem with.

    Like I say, they would have nymphed with a weightless fly and a sink tip if it was a particular piece of water that needed that method to reach and hook a fish.

    The original definition of nymphing was fishing sub-surface period.

    You know what I am saying?
  6. Nothing wrong with a weighted fly below an indicator if that is your cup-o-tea. At some point it might be more practical to switch to a gear rod if the indicator becomes more the size of a 'float' and fly more the size and weight of a 'jig'. But that is only a matter of being more efficient - not right or wrong. If a person likes the challenge of casting an awkward setup of an indator and weighted fly with a fly rod - more power to 'em....
  7. there is a fundemental difference between swinging a sink tip and dead drifting a nymph. I have no objections to either, but the presentation is dramatically different. True you might swing a nymph at the end of a dead drift, but in my experience most of the actually catching is done on the dead drift while nymphing. With a swung fly, tip or no tip, the fly is swimming sideways through the water column and the fish is pursuing the fly to take it. Not sure why we're all so caught up on this. Go catch some fish, however you like to do it
  8. O.k., I'll leave it at this...

    Can you nymph with a sink tip?
  9. Nate the best way for you to catch a steelhead on a swung fly is to cover as much productive water as necissary. If you know there are fish in a particlar area then cover it with both on top of the water column with a floater or intermediate and then go down with a tip. Steelhead are either on the top of the water column moving (the best grabs come here) or on the bottom where they may or may not be moving. Fishing the in between will only get you stragglers and is less productive. This of course does not mean a Type 3 will not get down in a certain run and it may also cover the top of the water column in others.

    Indicator fishing is very effective. However try not to nymph through runs that have fishermen swinging through them. Not that those runs cannot be swung through but rather you will have less hostility thrown at you. Nymph fishing through productive swinging runs will put fish down that are grabby and moving thus pissing off those guys who choose to look for that one or two grabs on the swing in a day. I personally use both methods but pick and choose what is more appropriate for each run.

    Swinging nymphs on tips or a floating line is a great method. When fish are less grabby try a small neutral pattern like a burlap, spade or even a prince. They downright work and have been successful for me this year when fish are off the bite. You will never forget that first fish you get to the beach. Tightlines,
  10. Yes all fishing of sink tips is "nymphing".

    Again, "nymphing" gets a bad rap amongst purists because today "nymphing" usually means "jig with tampon".

    80 years ago "nymphing" was fishing under the surface in any way.

    It is complicated because of semantics.

    "Swinging" is a form of nymphing where the fly is presented differently than "dead drift".

    "Dead drift" is easier to achieve with a strike indicator hence their popularity.

    Strikes are easier to detect with heavier fly (When floating below a "tampon"), hence their popularity.

    As long as your setup is legal you are fine by me. I am only trying to clarify.
  11. Yes if you stack mend the fly down in the water column so that it goes straight down and ded drifts. This can be very effective for salmon. They fly does not swing using this method until the line straightens out and starts to float back to the surface and shore. I was taught this method in BC when trying to get sockeye to bite. I also use this method a lot when fishing bulls on the Met with streamers.
  12. I nymph almost exclusively with a type III tip for trout. For me it's virtually no different than when I was indicator fishing with a floating line.... same speed, same water, and same fish to be found. The only difference is that the fly swings up through the water column at the very end of the drift, and I mean very end, because I stack mend downstream until the fly is below me. The reason I like it better is because It's more traditional and I catch bigger and more fish-- being that I'm in touch with my line and don't have to rely on a piece of yarn or plastic to tell me a fish likes my fly. I'm not swinging, because I'm presenting the fly to the fish vertically in the water column, rather than horizontally.
  13. Adam, have you ever tried nymphing with a sink tip on technical water such as spring creeks, or with very small flies such as midge pupae? It seems like your hypothesis of catching more and bigger fish would fall through the floor with the setup described.
    I like to swing for steelhead with a type 3 and a lightly or unweighted fly. Getting the fly 12-18 inches below the surface will put you in the zone of a lot of fish in classic steelhead water 3-5 ft deep. When water temps drop into the 30's, type 6-8 tips will almost always result in more grabs. Still I don't see how using wet flies or leeches and a type 8, swinging through the water column across the river is nymphing. I very, very, rarely cast upstream with tips because it almost always results in the fly swimming across stream too quickly especially where long casts are crucial. I prefer to cast between 45 and 90 degrees down and across depending on the water in the run I am fishing, then throw one upstream reach mend, and as soon as that comes tight following the fly with the tip. The line is tight continuously and the fly swims under tension the entire time I am presenting it across the river. Panhandle is the first angler I've heard describe this technique as nymphing.
    It matters not, opinions are like a$$holes, every one has one. The advice given above for the GR is good and is pertinent on all steelhead water. Try to fish runs that are rested and have features that hold fish. Cover the water thoroughly but efficiently, meaning don't spend all day one one or two runs. Work on your presentation, being sure to keep the fly in the zone as long as possible. Be curteous to others on the river and don't be an ass by chastising others that fish differently than you (unless they are snaggers or abuse wild fish). You are not God's gift to the world because you have a fly rod in your hand with a skater tied on the end.

  14. Mike,
    I have seen the method you described used a lot in situations with non-biting stacked salmon, and in my opinion it seems that in 90% of these situations fish are lined or flossed. Most of the time you see sinktips and long leaders which makes no sense unless you are attempting to floss. This is a common technique on Alaskan sockeye rivers and Great Lakes King fisheries. I have used tips casted upstream and stack mended on the Met for bulls, but most of my success comes with a down stream arch in the line and quick small strips that keep the streamer dancing but allow it to stay withing 12" of the bottom. The fish are not stacked and they are very agressive, they will move long distances horizontally to take a fly, just not far vertically in the water column.


  15. SteelieMike,

    Top or bottom. Top or Bottom. Rare to find a fish in the middle. Really? Steelhead look up. They also hold in suspended lies. They also rise to the surface...all the way from the bottom. Sometimes in water 8+ feet deep. You can even see it happen in small rivers with unlimited vis (like the N. Ump).


    If you have any experience in reading water you should find some fish. Provided the river is in decent shape. Water temps are likely to be getting on the colder side and IMO you will be better served to fish a sink tip. Type III should be plenty and keep you out of too many snags. I would stick to flies in 1/0, 2, and 4. Rabbit leeches are an easy choice. Black only please ;) . But a trad steelhead fly like a Green Butt Skunk will work just as well. DON'T get hung up on fly pattern. It isn't why/why not when it comes to hook ups. Work on getting your fly to swing slowly through likely holding water. Set your swing with one good hard upstream mend to get depth and angle (again the river will dictate). Try not to mend too much, if at all again (river will dictate but let it swim your fly). Good luck.

  16. Pete, I still inticator and high stick nymph on smaller water, but most of the moving water up here is huge trout water and as far as I'm concerned; very technical: Kootenia, Clark Fork, Upper Columbia, Spokane.
  17. Adam, I guess I didn't mean technical in terms of water complexity, but more in trout selectivity where long leaders, small diameter tippet, and small flies would be critical in having cosistent success.

  18. Nate, sorry that this thread has gone so many directions, but reading in between the BS, you have some excellent advice and you should be just fine and hook some fish.


    My confidence fly this summer has been a purple pick yer pocket. But hell the fly doesn't matter, anything listed on this thread fished correctly will get fish.
  19. :D, You certianly wouldn't have success tredging a tip on the bottom of silver creek. Not exactly stealthy.
  20. I am still confused that people are saying that nymphing and swinging are the same thing...I guess when I think of nymphing I think of a "dead drift" with little angler/line/rod/current influence on the fly. When I think of swinging...even if you cast up stream and mend to get it is not a true dead drift there will still be bellies in the line that influence the fly. If you are nymphing with a sink tip the fly will be slightly "swinging" across the bottom even if it is moving at the same speed as the water that you are fishing....

    So in esence I just confused myself even more..... AH HAA! unless you are talking about a non "dead drifted" nymphing technique where the fly could be moving at the same speed as the current but is not dead drifted.

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