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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all this is my first post, hopefully this is the right subform. I'm and avid fly angler and call the Yakima river my home base for fishing. I have probably fished right beside some of this board's members. Over the past few months I have been hitting it hard on the river every weekend trying to perfect my game. With Streamers and Drys i'm doing alright but I cannot seem to get much action on Nymph rigs. I'm looking for a few tips or maybe tricks of the trade for larger river nymphing. I definitely don't want to be spoon fed information just trying to figure out what i'm missing.

I usually do as follows:
5x 9 foot tapered leader to a top fly and 6x down to lower fly. (Flies are usually recommendations from fly shops) I use a standard long line nymphing technique with an indicator. I keep smaller uniform casts and make sure that the line is mended properly every time. I have been focused on riffles and gentle whitewater recently, fishing up stream.

Only thing I don't do is apply weight to the rig. I'm curious if getting it down lower might help out? I was using two bead head nymphs yesterday and thought that might be enough weight but wasn't hooking into rocks or fish. I seem to only be catching small trout in the shallows with my nymphing right now and when I get it out into waste deep water absolutely nothing.

Obviously a guided trip would help out but I'm on a budget! Any small tips you guys have on nymphing the yakima or techniques in general would be awesome.

Thanks,
Kenny
 

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Adding weight is going to help you 95% of the time, I usually go for one larger split shot. Fished the upper yesterday and had 20+ into the net mostly on the nymph or bead with some dry fly fun thrown in as well. With that being said the lower canyon is quite a different beast from the upper and with low water right now you may do better some days with no weight and be sure to have a very small indicator or consider using yarn. If you would like to get out and fish give send me a PM. I am based out of Yakima and am on the river usually a minimum of two days a week. That goes for anyone else around the Valley, have a boat and enjoy getting out with new faces, bonus points to those that "know how to row"
 

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Ali has some very good advice. I particularly like the yarn comment, but not those big commercial monstrosities (might as well just use a thingamabobber). I prefer to tie on a couple of strands of synthetic yarn anywhere from two to three feet down a tapered leader (or heavy mono), and goop it up good with floatant. Then tie your tippet above the yarn, forming a nice "hinge" that lets the line drop into the zone more quickly. And yes, buckshot is your friend. Unless it's skinny water/riffles as noted in the lower canyon.

Another technique is good old fashioned "braille." No bobber. No yarn. To stay in touch with the unseen subsurface takes, you want completely drag-free drifts and likely move your rod-tip downstream just a tad faster than the current. Instead of seeing the (late!!) pause on the bobber, feel it in real time and react. It's a heck of a lot of fun when you can Zen your way through a nymph run.

Oh, and I don't know that you have to go to 6x on the Yak, ever. Of course, I don't fish anything smaller than an 18 (and usually just down to 16 for Lightning Bugs and the like), but 5x is plenty small. Hell, 4x will get it down with less change of a breakoff on rocks and vegetation. And anywhere from 3x to 5x down to the top fly.

You got me all worked up. I've not had a chance to get over in months. Soon!
 

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Problem one is you are using a tapered leader for a subsurface presentation.

Problem two is likely the bead heads were brass. Make sure you are using tungsten, and if needed lead wire wrap underneath as well in order to get down.

Learn how to euro nymph as well
This is all great. The tapered leader makes your flies drag in the water unnecessarily. Try a butt of 20lb, about 4 feet. This will hold your bobber or whatever you use. Then four feet of 4x fluoro. This works for me for most nymphing.

Euro nymphing is a blast, almost like streamer fishing as it is very active, aggressive fishing.
 

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Fished the upper last week and had great success nymphing without an indicator. Was in a fast current that lead to a 90 degree bend in the river, at the bend was a log jam and the fish were stacked up in there. Was drifting into the log jam and then just held it against the current about a foot or so from the logs.

Constant action. Was a lot of fun. I'm not sure if you call that euro nymphing or now, but it was a blast. probably landed 15 or so in a couple of hours.
 

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This is all great. The tapered leader makes your flies drag in the water unnecessarily. Try a butt of 20lb, about 4 feet. This will hold your bobber or whatever you use. Then four feet of 4x fluoro. This works for me for most nymphing.

Euro nymphing is a blast, almost like streamer fishing as it is very active, aggressive fishing.
I need to try this. What's the best way to connect 4x to a 20lb butt section?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow, lots of great info thanks everyone! Sounds like I know what I need to change. I will keep the tapered leaders for surface work. Hopefully I can post back up with my results after this weekend.

Ali Baba I will definitely send you over a PM soon. I have rowed down the yakima a handful of times don't worry! Would be great to meet a fellow angler there.
 

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This is pretty much what I was going to write for my first post. This is my first summer fly fishing and I've learned a lot on smaller rivers like the Snoqualmie, Naches, Ohanapecosh, etc with dry flies. But I spent this past weekend on the Yakima giving nymphs a go and I had almost no luck (1 rainbow about 10 inches). It was particularly prescient when I fished a line for about 10 minutes only for a boat to come by and pull a monster out right in front of me, haha. The responses above are certainly helpful, but if I can add another question regarding the weight - where on the line do you put the weight? Right up against your nymph or further up the line? Probably a 'stupid' question, but you gotta learn somewhere. In that vein, if anyone was planning on being out wading this weekend (probably Sunday) and wouldn't mind a tag along for a bit it would definitely be appreciated! I know that's probably a lot to ask, but I'm always happy to bring some cold ones or lunch or whatever else might sweeten the deal :)
 

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Sculpzilla -- If you aren't bumping the bottom every once in a while then you aren't getting deep enough. Fish try to expend as little energy as possible, so if you're making them chase your flies up the water column then you are going to catch less of them. Get rid of the 5x to the first fly. Fish in that river aren't going to spook on 4x or even 3x. That way when you get hung up on a rock you won't lose your rig as easy. Then do 5x or 6x to the dropper so it pops off first when you snag.

Bobbi -- Put the weight about 12" above the fly. Something you also might consider is using a big heavy fly as an "anchor" fly to sink the smaller one down instead of adding splitshot. That is almost always what I do because I like to keep as few things on my line as possible, and big stoneflies are reliable producers on the Yak year round.
 

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If you are putting on a New Zealand strike indicator, what leader formula should I use. I know that the standard 4-5x tapered leader has too big of a butt section for to put on a NZ wool with the tool. I didn't know if 20lb is too thick or if I should go with 15lb, or if that isn't stiff enough.
Thanks,
 

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Cal - Yakima, WA
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This is a great thread... i wish I had something to add but I've been having a heck of a time nymphing from the boat this year as well... taking the tips above to heart. It's seemed slower with dries as well. Some luck with streamers through the deep spots. I've only been in the lower canyon this year...
 

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livin' the dream
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What knots are these? My method is small perfection loop in the 20lb, and improved clinch the 4x to that.
Double surgeon knot on the butt, just to make a bigger knot ball. Tie the Tippet on the main line of butt and then slide the knots together. Since this is several feet above the target area, the larger knot doesn't matter.

yarn indicators are a pleasure to cast unlike larger plastic ones. Use orthodontic rubber bands to get them on the leader. Bit of a challenge first time through, but hemo's allow a larks head knot around the leader with the indicator on the other side. They are tough rubber bands. They slide well when needed, hold well, and don't kink the leaders.

Read TO's first line a few times and let it sink in. Depth matters.

I've caught more fish on 10 and 12 sized nymphs tight lining. Smaller sized patterns when doing the bobber-thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey guys! Just wanted to say I really appreciate the insight on nymphing. I returned to the yakima this weekend with a wide selection of weights and tippet material. I rigged up a 3x butt section and 4x leader to my top fly, then 4x to my trailing fly. 2 pieces of splitshot and I was immediately into fish. Brown Pat Stone on top and purple lightning bug below. Great weekend. One of my dad's rainbows pictured below.
 

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Hey guys! Just wanted to say I really appreciate the insight on nymphing. I returned to the yakima this weekend with a wide selection of weights and tippet material. I rigged up a 3x butt section and 4x leader to my top fly, then 4x to my trailing fly. 2 pieces of splitshot and I was immediately into fish. Brown Pat Stone on top and purple lightning bug below. Great weekend. One of my dad's rainbows pictured below.
Thanks dude how long was your leader you used, how long was your 3x butt section were you using lead or tin split shot, and where they larger or smaller in size. Nice fish!
 

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For what its worth, I've fished with the exact same setup you described in your first post forever. I know there are better ways but I haven't gotten around to using them enough because I'm lazy I guess. I've caught a zillion picky fish using bug bugs to size 24 midges even in places like the San Juan where fish have PHd's, you are fishing 7x and waiting for your indicator to simple pause slightly rather than dip (lame place to fish fyi). You were missing the weight, that was all really in my opinion. If you skip the weight, your flies don't reach the zone or get there far too late. You can have all the fancy leaders you want and the perfect drift...but if the fly isn't in the right part of the water column...your missing LOTS of fish. I'd also take a look at drop-shot nymphing too, Kelly Galloup has a lot of good info on how-to.
 

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Can you explain your setup for nymphing the yakima please.
Thanks

For what its worth, I've fished with the exact same setup you described in your first post forever. I know there are better ways but I haven't gotten around to using them enough because I'm lazy I guess. I've caught a zillion picky fish using bug bugs to size 24 midges even in places like the San Juan where fish have PHd's, you are fishing 7x and waiting for your indicator to simple pause slightly rather than dip (lame place to fish fyi). You were missing the weight, that was all really in my opinion. If you skip the weight, your flies don't reach the zone or get there far too late. You can have all the fancy leaders you want and the perfect drift...but if the fly isn't in the right part of the water column...your missing LOTS of fish. I'd also take a look at drop-shot nymphing too, Kelly Galloup has a lot of good info on how-to.
 
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