Tuesday’s Tip - Light Nymphing – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Tuesday’s Tip - Light Nymphing

This is always an interesting and challenging time of year around SW Montana. We’ve got everything from lakes, to big rivers with little visibility, to small spring creeks with finicky trout. Versatility with your tactics really makes the difference between success and failure. It’s not always about throwing big nymphs this time of year.

One of the most enjoyable ways to nymph fish is sight fishing to feeding trout in clear waters. This time of year, that usually means a spring creek and chances are that you won’t be the first angler they’ve seen in a few days. So, the next time you’re out on one of the creeks, try to think “outside the box” in terms of your presentation. Split shot and thing-a-mabobbers aren’t always the best things to put on your leader when fishing to shy fish.

We try to take a slow approach to likely holding water, staying low to the ground and look before we cast. Obviously if they are rising, they are usually pretty easy to spot! But when they are actively feeding on nymphs and emergers below the surface, trying to spot the feeding fish will usually pay big dividends.

A great technique for fishing to spring creek fish is to use a single nymph with a small tungsten bead (brass for shallow fish). We like using a single white palsa strike indicator about 3-5 feet up from the fly. This allows for a gentle presentation and you will hardly spook fish these small indicators. Oftentimes you can actually see the trout eat your fly, so the indicator is used as much for depth control as strike detection. Try this on those fish you see eating before or after a hatch and you just might be surprised!