Nymphing for Steelhead...why are folks against it?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by jroni, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. This feels just like high school again... jocks vs. the nerds. Glad I don't hang with either.
  2. You too.:beer2:
  3. That leaves you as part of the stoner group then. :eek: :clown:
  4. I tend to use the patterns that are effective when I'm on the river, be it nymph, dry, streamer. I'm not even a big fan of strike indicators, but that's just my personal preference & I condemn no other fly fisherman for their preferences. It's the fishing (and occasional catching that's the fun part). When I was younger, I primarily nymphed in taverns; I still swing for Steelies (most consistently productive where I fish); tried camping on the river, but my tent floated away, and am now just false-casting repeatedly . . . enticing the ironheads to leap out of the water to grab the fly . . .
  5. Exactly. iagree
  6. I see guys walking by water that's holding fish that isn't "swinging" water as I'm nymphing though it and picking up fish.I have over the years pulled alot of steelhead out of "trouty"(if thats a word)water.I like to fish pocket water and boulder gardens with a nymph or two under a bobber in water that is not swingable.I'm a true lover of the big grab,I don't think that there is a more exciting way to hook fish than than on the swing.But I'm not willing to just walk by water that I know as a fish or two in it because I'd rather swing.I'm there to fish a river not just parts of it.
    I know that some of the guys that are saying that nymphing isn't pure are the same guys that will fish for trout with a nymph and bobber.I've fished all over Montana for trout with alot of that fishing done under a bobber,because that the best way to fish in areas where the trout hold.
    I sit at my fly tying vice and try to tie flys that represent bugs that might be in the water at any given time.Those may be small drys for trout,or nymphs for trout or steel.The swinging flys that I tie very seldom look like a bug that could be living in the water,I've never seen a flashy purple and orange leech but I've caught steel with one.What about a flashy blue and black leech?
    This whole debate is so fucking silly.I fish with a fly rod(don't even own any thing but fly rods)with flys I tied at my fly tying vice.I think my friends that,that is fly fishing.

  7. William, we usually don't see things the same but I must say I could not agree more with your statements.

    I swing flies because it is easy. Nymphing is to much work for what you get. At any rate I could care less how you fish as long as your coffee is hot and you are willing to share.

    I love the guys that come on here bad mouthing people because they have nice gear. What a waste of fucking air. When I hit the river I could be using $15,000.00 of gear and up depending on which boat I am using and I will likely out fish and out cast any of the loud mouths on here.
  8. So here's a very honest question, those of you that are against nymphing as a form of fly fishing, how do you feel about nymphing for trout?
  9. We hate that too. Any way you cut, you're still a bad person if you nymph. If you trout fish, you should only do so without an indicator and only with natural patters imitating what is actually hatching in the system at that time. You can also dryfly fish in the same manner. However, swiging softies in the film is the best way to be a good person and authentic-real flyfisherman. Quit asking such dumb/obvious questions about charactar and goodness.
  10. As someone who has very limited experience in fly fishing other than past couple months, I was literally born with a baitcaster in my hands due to my father being a gear fisher. Just wanted to put in my 2 cents on this. Take it for what its worth.

    I changed to fly fishing for many reasons. One primary reason? The history, culture, and the challenge of it. In the past couple months that I've ben fly fishing, I've stuck to mostly dries and occasional streamers (which I still don't know how to fish). Admitedly, I haven't had much success. As far as the debate on nymphing goes...is there really a difference between bobber/jig fishing? I undeerstand that ther are technical challenges that come with Nymphing (as Sageman has stated) but are these challenges any different from bobber and jig fishing?

    Whether you're fly fishing or gear fishing, learning how to read the water is generally something you have to understand in order to fish rivers and catch fish. I see a lot of fly fishers state that gear fishing is just chuck and wait which isn't the case. I've done my share of bobber/jig and corkie/yarn fishing and don't get me wrong, a lot of the skills required for fly fishing isn't required for gear fishing, but let's get one thing straight - whether fly or jig, you should know how to read the water.

    Now going back to nymphing. If I was fly fishing for the increased chance of catching fish, I would've stuck with gear fishing. Simple as that. I fly fish for the challenge and the history of said method, not so I can increase my chances of catching fish. I've had a lot of success in my time gear fishing, but very minimal success on my fly. Fortunately, this only motivates me more than deterring me.

    Maybe there is a whole culture to nymphing that I don't understand and haven't really opened my eyes to, but I've sure done a hell of a lot of bobber and jig fishing and for me, I'll stick with swinging flies for the sake of the challenge and tradition. I certainly hope I don't get called a "elitist" because of this post. I don't exactly have the credibility to be makign statements as such, but just sharing my reasons for fly fishing and truth be told, nymphing goes against the reasons why I switched to fly fishing.
  11. I swing flies for steelhead for the same reason some gear guys swing spoons for steelhead, you get fewer but generally bigger and more aggressive fish.

    On top of that, the larger rivers that have the bigger more aggressive fish tend to be much too big to nymph the water effectively. You can fish a few spots but if you are trying to dead drift a nymph, you will miss out on literally square miles of holding water.

    I have nymphed for steelhead about 3 days in my life around the sacred S Rivers I love so much and in those 3 days I had A LOT of success compared to swinging. For the time spent with the method, it was the highest steelhead catch rate for me ever. However, it just wasn't the same. Many of the fish hardly fought, they were rather small, and they were mostly hens. That is my experience.

    I would pass on a dozen 8lbs hens for one mean as fuck 15+ buck on the big water.
  12. I just don't see the line. I see very little difference between stream fishing / chuckin' spoons, and egg / nymphing with an indicator / bait fishing. I just choose to use a fly rod because I have more presentation options open to me, and because I love casting.

    So here is a thought for you.... The shooting sports have done a great job of banding together for their common good. It doesn't matter if you are one of the black gun guys or someone who owns room full of fine double guns. They have learned to respect each other, and use their common voice to form an extremely strong front.

    Now imagine if we, as fishermen, could just stuff our egos for a minute and find common ground instead of division As Mumbles said, respect the river - no matter how you fish - the more people fishing, the stronger our voice The rest is just a stupid game of on-line masturbation.
  13. fishing a fly down deep, controlling it's drift, without any other attachments on your line, is an art form, and one worth learning about and perfecting. sure, swinging flies is great fun but productive a very small part of the time.

    that said, what i do object too are the bobber fishermen who will not take the time to learn how to nymph fish but instead borrow a technique from the conventional tackle crowd and claim to be fly fishing, hogwash. i guess that is the line i draw between conventional and fly fishing. i have nothing against the bobber fishermen using spinning gear, only the pretend fly guys. of course, drifting a bobber also allows you to cover water that might be difficult to impossible nymphing, but then again, water that is difficult may best be left as refuge areas for our diminishing fishes.

    but, who cares anyway................
  14. @gt - not sure if your comment was directed towards me. but I don't claim and never have claimed to be a fly fisherman. I'm merely trying to learn the art of it. A lot of my friends who fish don't understand why I've taken up fly fishing and why I haven't put it down as I haven't caught anything while they've been slaughtering the chums. I'm just here to learn.

    Who knows, maybe one day I'll take up interest in nymphing. Simply stated however, I think I've got my hands full trying to learn how to cast.
  15. Pan,

    You're on to something - - in your own inimitable way.

    Here's a little background for those of you who haven't fly fished in WA for more than a couple decades. What sets nymphing apart from the wet fly swing? One word:


    By material availability fly rods first were constructed of greenheart and later of bamboo. Casting weighted flies or split shot wasn't a very good way to treat a bamboo fly rod.

    The definition of fly fishing in WA on fly fishing only waters until a few years back allowed only the weight of the fly line for casting. No lead. Not only no lead for casting, no lead split shot on the leader, no lead wire wrapped on fly hooks. Without lead, how successful or useful is the nymphing technique even for trout, let alone steelhead. Absent a couple split shot, nymphing for steelhead loses its effectiveness. Consequently, nymphing for steelhead only became popular when the WA fishing regulations were modified to allow weighted flies in fly fishing only waters. And the rest, one could say, is history.

    I've been fly fishing for steelhead for 37 years. Early on, much of that fishing was on the fly fishing only waters of the NF Stillaguamish and Kalama Rivers. I've probably spent fewer than 5 hours nymphing because, as commonly practiced, nymphing was illegal in those waters. I don't know when the regulation changed, but from 1940 until the late 1980s or 90s, if you had lead in your fly pattern or split shot on your leader, by definition, you were not fly fishing in WA state. This is most likely why you won't find many long time steelheaders nymphing for steelhead. Not only is it not traditional, hell, it wasn't even legal on restricted waters, and by habit I presume, fly fishing on other rivers followed the same legal technique even tho using lead was permitted. But lead is the main thing that separated fly fishing from spinning and casting methods. In fly fishing, you cast the line, the fly goes along for the ride. In spinning and baitcasting, you cast the lead, with the line being nearly weightless.

    So the remarks about purism and tradition have some validity, since by tradition, and the associated fly fishing regulations, swinging was fly fishing, and nymphing was gear fishing and could not be legally practiced in the state's fly fishing only waters.

    So back to Pan's scale of goodness and badness among people, authentic fly fishing, or at least traditional fly fishing, does not use lead on the fly or the leader. Hence a traditional - and of course elitist - fly fisheman is more than justified in thinking you an uncultured gear chucker if you're casting lead with your fly rod.

    That's my hypothesis regarding the bias against nymphing. That makes a hell of a lot more sense to me than thinking I actually give a shit how many steelhead someone catches by nymphing.

  16. In my opinion, nymphing seems like a non-proper way to "fly-fish". Might as well bust out the fishing pole and bait. If you can't catch steelhead on a swing with a dry line, try a sink tip, if that doesn't work, say F*ck it and go home. You get more respect for catching steelhead the way it should be done. :) (btw, I'm new to this, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.)
  17. I fish the way I do because it pleases me.
  18. Hey LisaMfly, you haven't been skunked steelheading yet have you? :beathead:This year's monster run has been a lot of fun to catch fish on ANY method, but attitudes change when the fishing is a lot slower and you like to catch fish.

    I occasionally nymph therefore I am a bad person, that shit cracks me up! Talk about elitism. It really doesn't matter how you fish and what you fish with. If you are fishing with a fly rod, you are challenging yourself to catch a fish in a harder method of fishing. You have devoted yourself to understanding what fish eat, temperatures and how they affect the bite, reading water.........

    As far as the take, I have caught fish this year on the swing that haven't hit that hard, and have caught fish nymphing that have rocked. It all depends on the fish, but ya, I guess overall the take on the swing is more aggressive.
  19. My post has nothing to do with steelhead nymphing. I have my opinions and have stated some of them here. Nothing I read on the internet will change my mind or how I fish.

    However, after reading back-to-back posts from Sg and LisaMfly, I went to their respective home pages. Sg has over 3,000 posts and has some of the most thoughtful posts I have ever read here: his posts, and a handful of others is a big reason why I stay tuned to this site. He has had 180 or so visits to his page.

    LisMfly, from what I can see, is an attractive women who has been here for a few months and about 91 posts. She has had 811 people view her home page. I hope she does not find what I say offensive; it is only an observation.

    Post counts and time being here mean little to me as I admire content and quality over quantity. I bring this up only because I find it interesting, a little humorous, and strengthens my belief that most men are pretty pathetic. :rofl:
  20. I have always looked at nymphing as a different way of fly fishing. When I fished in Washington before I moved to Montana I did the swinging thing and the dry fly thing and I even tried a few wet flies.

    But now that I'm in Montana, it is nymphing or just stay home. I do it with a thingambobber and one "BB" sized split shot and two nymphs. One a size 18 and the dropper a size 22. I don't fish all day anymore as I can get all I want in about an hour of fishing. So if I want to catch fish, I have to nymph. And I enjoy it.


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