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


"Swing Flies, Be Happy."- Write 2 Fly-Fish
I was merely commenting on your arrogant post ............the one i quoted above.

"seems you should just go back to gear fishing"

This kind of comment is exactly the hipocritical holier than though crap that i will not take. I have no bone to pick with you in particular, It seems that you have just fell into the category of people that tend to rub me the wrong way.

You were just touting how we all should love the sport and not low hole each other.....

Its these kind of comments "seems you should just go back to gear fishing" that seperate the fly fishing community.

If that is your attitude, then keep it to yourself.

Nymphing is far more than "gear fishing".............

As far as going fishing,............I do, all the time. This may be why I have been a member of this site for over a year and have only 5 posts. Seems like reel fly fisherman don't have to tout themselves on internet forums, too busy catching fish. I knew however that one of these days I would get sucked into a debate, so here I am.
The points I made were just like every one else. The points you made were directly aimed at me. I am no longer going to post anything on here because of you. Congratulations. You did your once a year post justice. I hope to not see negative grouchy people like you on the river.

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
I'm getting my hip-boots, bamboo rods, silk lines, Pflueger Medalists, and gut leaders out of storage. And I'm using no other fly than a Major Pitcher tied on a Herter's hook henceforth.
The points I made were just like every one else. The points you made were directly aimed at me. I am no longer going to post anything on here because of you. Congratulations. You did your once a year post justice. I hope to not see negative grouchy people like you on the river.
Lisa, take everything everyone says here with a grain of salt. This is a boys dominated recreation and boys will be boys. Like Inland said, your opinions are refreshing, especially from someone who is just getting into it.


Experienced Enthusiast
When I was a kid in Sandpoint, Idaho we used to fish dark dry flys on a dry line with fiberglass rods in a place called Sand creek that was mostly less than 2 yards wide and lined with tall grass. The Brookies were beer-barrel fat and there were a few local cutts. You couldn't really cast and soon the fly became a wet fly. This dunking technique worked great too! I still use it in some pocket water. Then when you got to the mill pond or a beaver pond on Schweitzer creek you had to back cast like mad to dry out your fly.

No one ever told me I couldn't have fun doing that. I don't think I knew then what a steelhead was or what waders should be made out of. Denim jeans worked pretty good until I "grew up". I can still see the fish lying in a bed of grass in the bottom of the woven creel. Some times we just used a willow or alder branch for a stinger because we even ate some of those trout and char!

I moved away and later someone dumped a load of diesel crashing at the creekside and killed the fishery for a while. Oh well, they weren't all natives of the stream, right?

Since then I have been experimenting with all kinds of "fly fishing" and ended up with a bunch of stuff including a pontoon boat. I probably don't need any of it to live but it sure makes life more interesting at times.

I think I might go fishing in the snow tomorrow and ride my bike to the ski hill on Sunday but that's just me.

Does this constitute jacking the thread or does it still count?

Addendum: You can fish nymphs as long as it is legal, some people might even do it if it isn't. It's very effective. Name calling isn't as effective as a persuasion to get people to see another point of view but people still use it all the time. I guess I am somehow entertained being relatively new to the forum. Thanks!

Old Man

Just an Old Man
What do you all call chronomid fishing. Nymphing I hope. And with an indicator no less. And some people even look down on those people. So what else is bad about nymphing.


Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Rainbownater, you have been aggressive and arrogant and there is no reason for that type of conduct. You take issue with one member's opinion and lash out. Pretty weak sauce.

I'm against nymphing because I'm lazy. Swinging is far less work.
Also, I'm against it because I don't like catching fish.
If you got that fetish boot off your head you'd be able to see your nymph rig...with boot in place on your face you must rely on your jedi sense of feeling the tug.

Fuck respect, the way it should be. That is a line of shit. Everyone fish your style and lets get off of this thread, this one is played out.
Amen flatwaterguides, I like your style and agree this thread is played out. When I was here last it was at five pages. One nice day fishing and I come back to see it into its eleventh page. Yawn.

To tell the truth, I have been trying to find a nymph for years but all I seem to find are ho's.
Humor is much needed here in this post, thank you master obiwan. By the way, tested out a new to me rod today...sweet.

nymph the hoh.. it's a win-win!
sorry, had to take a chance to make another bad joke
Speaking of the Hoh, this topic should die and we should start talking about the Hoh. Last year at the Hoh down there were nymphers and swingers sharing the same water, even from the same drift boats. We can all get along (well, the civil ones can get along).

What do you all call chronomid fishing. Nymphing I hope. And with an indicator no less. And some people even look down on those people. So what else is bad about nymphing.Jim
Good point as always Jim, be it high stick or with an indicator chironomid fishing is nymphing. Aren't chironomids a major part of a trout's diet? If they eat them, why not imitate them? Simple.

Fish how you want but fish. I did today and had a blast. This thread is not such a blast. I pray that it inherits a padlock soon, very soon.
I must be kind of dense. Having difficulty seeing the logic behind showing Joe how to successfully swing a fly, without success including catching a fish. Although I will concede that nymphing is a much more productive method of catching than swinging.

Now as far as being easier to teach, there are undoubtably tricks to the trade that do require some knowledge as well as a certain level of skill. But lobbing a bobber rig fifteen feet out to the side of a drift boat while the guide rows you down thru the slot is not too high up on the learning curve. And I've done my fair share of observing people fishing both methods with and without a guide. Guide services do not come cheap these days. And it's hard to justify shelling out that kind of dough when you go all day without so much as a hit. So is it any wonder that guides promote nymphing under a bobber over swinging?

Reading water. Another aspect of this is the guy who has fished gear and knows good water when he sees it. All good water is not necessarily good swing water. But, with enough weight on a nymph rig, it can be fished.

We fish because we like to fish. How we fish is a personal choice. And I have no quarrel with people who fish bobbers, bait or gear solely because they fish bobbers, bait or gear.

No, you're not dense. Not sure I presented this clearly. I don't for a second discount the fact that there is a definite technique to swinging and some people definitely develop a zen to it. I wholeheartedly agree that time spent swinging will allow you to learn subtle things that will make you more successful. My point is that I can take somebody with very basic flyfishing knowledge, get them in the river, give them a little lesson, and within a short period of time they can develop a BASIC proficiency of the technique. If I give him a nymphing rig, I will sit by him and nag him for about 2 hours and he still won't quite get it right unless it is very simple water.

You are also correct about fishing nymphs from a boat. A good rower can take a lot of the need for technique out of nymphing. One of my firm beliefs in fishing the Yakima River is that catching fish has as much to do with the rower as it does with the guy holding the fly rod. A good rower can allow even the most inexperienced flyfisher to get a couple of fish, whereas a bad rower can make it challenging for the most accomplished jedi caster. My argument does break down a bit if you are simply nymphing on the go, this seriously reduces your need to be able to read water, although a good flyfisher will look ahead and make sure he is keeping his nymph(s) in the best water.

As for reading water. ANY person who fishes for steelhead is going to need a basic understanding of reading water. You need to be able to walk/row/swim down a river and identify the water where you are going to be most likely to find fish. My argument is that with methodical nymphing you break down the water into much smalelr segments and need to find the specific holding spot of a fish as well as the currents that are going to affect your ability to properly present a fly to that specific spot.
You guys are once again arguing with nobody here when you make fun of swingers. I haven't seen an elitist remark or any snooty shit in this thread.

On another note: for every dumbass swinger I see a dumbass nympher who tangles up his shit every other cast and curses aloud so everyone can be annoyed at his ineptitude. As little as I nymph I know not to put split shot 12 feet down a leader, keep my loops extra wide, and mend like hell. That is because like a good nympher or a good swinger, good fishermen understand the fundamentals to make any technique work.

I also think it is apt for me to mention that I was swinging flies yesterday and barfed in my mouth watching 3 guys fully decked out trying to cast their top line spey outfits after they had obviously never practiced. They had no clue what they were doing. It is always hard to see that shit.
To me this is the exact kinda elitist stuff that people are complaining about. You saw 3 guys who didn't know how to spey cast and it made you barf in your mouth? Perhaps if you had offered some words of encouragement, or a tip or two, it would go a ways to change the perspective people seem to have on "elitist" swingers.


Active Member
Anybody else notice that nearly all the folks saying nymphing is the way to go and that swingers are elitists are from the east side of the hills where folks fish for trout in rivers? Perhaps that is why they are so adamant about swingers being elitists. Afterall, eastsiders don't have fresh steelhead available to fish for in the Dec. to April winter steelhead time frame, and most of their rivers are pretty devoid of steelhead in May, June, and July as well.

Lest we forget, nymphing for steelhead (or fishing weighted flies dead drift with or without an indicator or some kind) is not something that was just discovered in the last 15 years or so. It is something that was done as far back as the 1870's in Northern CA. If you doubt this, simply take a look into the history of fly fishing for steelhead and you will find the use of weighted flies, including nymphs was used by quite a few back then. Perhaps, just perhaps the best steelhead fly fishers of years past quit using them for steelhead because they found nymphing wasn't the best or most effective method of catching steelhead.

Just some food for thought.
Wow, this one took off fast.

I'll nymph for fish if the river is best suited for it, I'll even use a bobber at times (oops - strike indicator). I guess I'll never understand the "my way of fishing is better than yoiur way of fishing" mentality. I've put plugs on my Scott rod for winter steel and bahamas tarpon. I've put scent and bait on my fly a time or two, and I've swapped the real eggs at the end of my gear rod for an egg fly too.

I like fishing. As long we obey the regs and respect each other none of the other stuff matters.
I don't know what your point is... all I know is I think fly-fishing is all about quality vs. quantity. If you want to use non traditional fly-fishing techniques, it seems you should just go back to gear fishing. *shrug*... whatever. Fish on! :thumb:
If this is this case, pull out your size 20 BWO's and dead drift them for steelhead. Everybody has a measure of quantity built in. Would you seriously spend a cold winter day swinging flies in the Skagit River if you knew there was only a single 4 pound leftover summer run in the river? somewhere.......

My point is that I think by our nature we have chosen flyfishing because of the quality of the experience, but we all desire a certain quantity as well. In fact, one of the reasons I use so many different techniques is that each one requires a different understanding of the river and a specific technique. To me the quality in flyfishing is being able to use several different techniques. I'd go nuts if all I could do was swing all day everyday, or just nymph for that matter. There are days where swinging is all I do because I get the itch to fish that way and want to feel that take. I enjoy all the methods for different reasons, and in the end I nymph more than I use the other techniques because ultimately I like to catch fish...
Lisa, in any sport or anything you do, you will have a couple of bad eggs or people that just like to cause problems. Fly fishing is fun and should be fun. It doen't matter how you do it or what you fish for.
It is about getting out and having fun. It is what it means to you, no one else.
So as a couple of ones have already said, it is great that you are hear and it would be our lost if you don't stay and keep posting.
I for one would love to hear more about your fishing trips and question.
Good luck fishing!
P.S. If you have any questions you would like to ask and don't want to put it on this site please P.M. me and I will do my best to answer them.

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