Pro Tip: How to Set-Up Rigs for Nymphs, Streamers, and Dry-Droppers

 If your nymph isn’t at the right depth, the fish won’t eat it. Photo by Sandy HaysThe most common questions I get in the shop are about how to set up a rig properly. I will go through how I like to set up my rigs, whether I’m nymphing, throwing streamers, or running a dry-dropper tandem. Nymph Rig Nymphing is all about depth. If you are nymphing, it’s usually because trout are not looking up at the surface or there aren’t any bugs out for the trout to rise to. This alone should tell you where the trout are: deep. In order to catch these fish, you have to present the fly where they are. I see a lot of people throwing nymph rigs that are just two or three feet long from the indicator to the second fly. Fish are usually not looking for a size 10 stonefly just below the surface....

Pro Tip: How to Weight Nymph Rigs

Using the right amount of weight can be the key to catching more trout on nymphs. Photo by Lisa Savard One of the most common questions that we hear about nymph fishing is, “How much weight should I use?” This is an age-old question that, unfortunately, has no easy answer. One of the frustrating things about fishing subsurface is that most of the time you can’t see what the heck is going on down there, so you have to guess how your flies are behaving. However, there are ways to make educated guesses that will help you keep your flies in the strike zone longer—and, therefore, catch more fish.In most angling situations, you want your flies to be close to the bottom, where the vast majority of natural nymphs hang out or get caught in the drift. (There are other angling situations—during a hatch, for example—when you want your nymphs higher in the...

Spring Hatch

Spring is a great time of year. The weather warms and the days of winter jackets are over. We typically look for cooler and overcast weather to trigger hatches of BWO's here on Utah's Provo river. Recently the weather has cooperated and the fishing has been excellent. As we looked at the forecast we are looking for a forty to fifty degree day with clouds. It doesn't always work out but our recent trip was incredible.The hatch usually starts early in the afternoon and lasts for a couple of hours. We tend to nymph a bit before we tie on our dry flies. Once we start seeing heads consistently then we make the switch. Fishing just before the hatch we like to use small dark baetis patterns like the Pheasant tail or Higa's sos. These patterns imitate the bwo's in their nymphal stage.On the Provo river the main staple for...

Tip: How to Untangle Knots in Your Leader

Fly fishermen are masters of euphemism when it comes to tangled leaders. “Oh, look. I’ve got a wind knot,” an angler will say on the even the most flat-calm day.  Sorry, my friend, but the wind had nothing to do with that knot, which was surely caused by a flaw in your casting motion. Such knots are usually caused by tailing loops (an easy-to-fix problem) or an overly violent acceleration or stop at one end of the casting motion. If you’re fishing a tandem rig, these flaws are compounded by the two flies’ tendency to spin around each other if given half a chance. But once you’ve made a mess of your leader, what do you do?When it comes to tangled leaders, I’ve always divided anglers into two camps: cutters and untanglers. Cutters believe that anything but the simplest tangle isn’t worth bothering with, so instead they simply cut above...

Spring Fishing

The weather lately has been amazing. After all of the snow the Utah mountains received it was uncertain when spring would arrive. The weather over the weekend reached sixty degrees. That only meant one thing. Fishing.Fellow guide, Jake Ricks met up with me and we were able to fish the Provo river. The river was flowing a little higher than normal but it was clear and we could see fish. Usually in the spring we see bwo's hatching in the afternoon. We did see a few but not many fish were looking at them. We decided to nymph until we saw more of an active hatch.[caption id="attachment_52377" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Provo River Brown Trout[/caption]It didn't take Jake long before he hooked his first fish. The fish were stacked up in the shallows feeding on baetis nymphs and  midges. We also used our staple provo river pattern, the sow bug. Sow bugs...

Quick Tip: Keep Your Fly In The Water

If you’re walking downstream, let your line drift or swing below you. Photo via Orvis Fly Fishing Learning Center There’s an old saying among fishermen: You can’t catch fish if your line isn’t in the water. I believe that this is one of the reasons that wives often outfished their more-experienced husbands on float trips when I guided on the Yellowstone and in Alaska. Whereas the husband recognized every great trout lie the boat floated past and felt the need to cast to all of them, the wife was generally more content to keep a given drift going as long as possible. Every time the husband picked up his line and started false-casting, he was taking himself out of the game. (Of course, this is a gross generalization not meant to discount any accomplished female fly fishers out there, including lots in this building.)Novice fly fishermen should take this to heart. . .and...

Top 10 Midge Patterns for Tailwaters

 Orvis Charlotte Store Manager Mary Griffin caught this 22-inch South Holsten brown on a tiny midge imitation. Photo by Trey Oliver Whether you are fishing the Bighorn, the Missouri, or a tailwater elsewhere in the country, midge are among the most important hatches. These tiny patterns have proven themselves as effective go to patterns for many Bighorn anglers and guides. Don’t go out on a tailwater fishery without a healthy selection of midge patterns, both subsurface and dry. Here are my ten favorites:[Click the name of each fly to be taken to a photo, recipe, or video.]1. Tungteaser (sizes 18 & 20) This is one of our favorite all-around fly patterns on the Bighorn. The Tungteaser is able to imitate multiple species such as midges, black caddisflies, and Baetis. This pattern is typically fished in tandem behind another nymph, but it also works exceptionally well as a dropper below a dry. What makes this pattern so efficient is...

Top 5 Late Winter/Early Spring Nymphs

Here is a great article written by John Way that gives some good advice on what nymphs to use in February and March when the winter is wrapping up and the spring is starting.  We hope you learn something and enjoy.The warming weather this time of year makes everyone think winter is over and gets the juices flowing for spring fishing. If you need to scratch the itch and get out on the great waters of Montana, here are a few nymphs that you really need to have at your disposal.1. Rubber Leg Stonefly / Pat’s Rubberlegs (Black, olive, or tan; sizes 6-12) This is the gold standard for all nymphs in Montana. Stoneflies are present year-round in the river and provide a steady source of food for trout. During the spring, I really like the Black with white legs, or an olive body.2. San Juan Worm (Various colors; sizes 10-14) Love it...

Video: How to Choose a Nymph

Today’s video is an exclusive Orvis video by Dave and Amelia Jensen, featuring amazing shots of trout feeding and great instruction about nymph selection. In this installment of our weekly lesson, Dave explains the rationale behind choosing a nymph–both when there is a hatch going on and when trout are lying deep with no visible bug activity.https://youtu.be/XKeyKDV3UOo...