Back to the future - steelhead nymphing! December 01 2014, 1 Comment
Swinging for steelhead is fun. For those who spey cast, many would say they're happy casting all day. Different tactics, casting feels good, step downstream a bit, more casts. Different mends, in front of that rock, behind this rock. There's always something that keeps your mind focused, even after going hours without a fish. And when that take finally comes, it can be a rush so strong that you forget it took 2 days just to get it.
But fishing on the swing isn't always the answer. Doing so can mean ignoring smaller streams and rivers. It can mean passing up water that fish will hold in, just because it isn't fishable on the swing. Enter steelhead nymphing, and with it, the steelhead nymphs.
Your steelhead nymphs can be fished just as you would any trout nymph. You can go lighter on gear, fish smaller water, and be in the strike zone longer. Bulltrout, rainbows and cutthroat will be by-catches. And catching that large steelhead in a small stream will be a rush too. A big one.
When designing steelhead nymph flies, the same principles apply as with swung flies. Enough resemblance to something that they may have eaten at another stage in their life, and enough going on that they're interested enough to eat your offering. Think flash, sparkle and rubber leg dangle, with plenty of weight to get it into the strike zone quickly.
Here are a couple that we've tied and will fish early next year. Why not tie some of your own and mix it up this winter?