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Old 04-20-2014, 06:24 PM
silver creek silver creek is offline
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Location: Rothschld, Wisconsin
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Default Re: Nymphing fast water?

Originally Posted by hubba_3 View Post
Ok so I've spent a lot of time nymphing and that is how I catch almost all of my fish. Most of that nymphing takes place in slower moving water (deep, slow moving pools)... I see guys catching fishing in fast moving deep and shallow water all the time and I just can't seem to figure out the trick. What is the trick? Bigger flies? A lot of weight? I've considered trying out Czech Nymphing, but I've never done it so any help on what you've found to work best would be great! I fish mainly the Provo River so anything specific for that river would be great also!

There is no “trick.”

There are two types of skills, mental and physical.

The mental skills are reading water, and knowing how to fish that water. Knowing how to fish includes how to decide what flies to use and how to fish those flies. The physical skills are wading and being able to cast, mend line, and detect the takes.

Entire books are written on the subject. So here’s a basic introduction. First is reading water. Read my FAQ:

Now that you have read my FAQ, did you notice that I deviated from the standard approach to reading water? The standard approach to reading the water is analyzing the hydraulics of the river and the needs of the trout to determine the likely holding areas for fish. It deals with the PHYSICAL characteristics of the river. I added a second part which is reading the food. Different types of water contain different types of aquatic insects.

It is well known that certain water types hold certain types of food. Riffles for example hold the clinging and crawler type of mayfly nymphs and some stoneflies. Faster water with a greater gradient hold stoneflies and clinging mayflies. Rapids/heavy riffles are too fast for crawlers. Slow water hold burrowing mayfly nymphs. Vegetation can hold scuds. Water near the shore or under trees have terrestrials.

What I am saying is that not all water types hold all types of food. You can read the physical characteristics of the river to understand where trout are likely to be, but reading the biological characteristics; the food in that location should be the next step to reading water. If we read the food correctly, we are more likely to be successful.

In my view, reading the water is finding where the fish are at any given time and NOT just the ability to identify the types of riparian architecture. In this definition "reading the water" means the ability to locate fish whatever the season and whatever the situation. Reading the architecture is useless unless it leads to finding fish.

There are times in which the areas of no fish will be filled with fish and vice versa. That knowledge is gained through experience. Fish location can vary with the time of day, water temps, the flow rates, the hatches, whether there is wind or not, whether it is a sunny day, overcast or raining. And so on. When a fisher has that knowledge, he/she can go a spot on the river, have a bite to eat and at the end of the meal, the fish will be feeding.

How does the fisher know that? It is not by knowing what a riffle is vs pocket water. It is by taking everything that affects his prey into consideration.

The third step is reading the approach and presentation. Where is the best location to stand and what cast(s) should be made. This is highly individual and is determined by your own personal wading and casting skills and how you want to fish the water.

As you read the physical nature of the water, simultaneously read the biology (food) which is present, and your possible forms of presentation. If you think only about the narrow definition to reading the water, you would not think of fishing a beetle or ant downstream from overhanging trees.

Breaking down a river:

Click the image to open in full size.

In the photo above, I have labeled an area of “pocket water” in the background behind my left shoulder. Here is a close up if that boulder. Can you identify the multiple potential fishing lies in the photo below?

Click the image to open in full size.

Did you notice that there is actually a submerged boulder “A” in front of the the larger boulder “b”? You can’t see the boulder, but you can see the hump of white water that indicates the position of the boulder. Behind sunken boulder and in front of the larger boulder is a pocket of soft water that I have labeled this as “Run C.”

I saw a fish rising in this exact location. What cast would you use to be able to get a drag free float in his location? Do you have the physical skill to make that cast?

Like the fish in location “C”, Every seam and run in this photo holds fish. But like the fish in location “C,” you need the casting and mending skills to catch fish. Seam “F” is the easiest area to fish. “D” is a bit harder because the fly lands in the slower water “D” but the line falls on the faster flow at “F.” Seam “E” is even harder because the there are now three differential flows that are crossed. So how do you fish location “E?”

Click the image to open in full size.

This is the upper Madison below Quake Lake and across from Slide Inn. The entire volume of the Madison River flows in this river channel. It doesn’t get much faster than this and still be fishable,

Click the image to open in full size.

I am fishing fast water here:

Click the image to open in full size.

Here’s a fish from that water

Click the image to open in full size.

Here is my fishing buddy Gene, hooked up with a fish in this water.

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Here’s another section of rapids on the Madison. Even in this type of water that looks to be too fast to fish, there is still a “secret river.”

Click the image to open in full size.

Can you spot the water that almost always holds trout and is the easiest to fish?

I have covered the pocket water in these locations. However, there is always a secret river that exists in all steep gradients. You can fish it with a dry fly or nymphs.

This is the easiest water to fish for a newbie and does NOT require heavy nymphs or any special nymphing techniques. Where is this secret river? It is the slower water next to the river bank and it varies in width. Look for the seam between the fast and slow water and fish the water from that seam to the river bank.

Gene with a fish from the secret river caught during our 2013 trip.

Click the image to open in full size.

Read about the Secret River here:

The Secret River


"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy
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