Confession

I enjoy nymphing. There, I said it. Let the mockery and derision begin.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If the trout are eating on top, I prefer to fish dry flies. I like nothing more than to see a fish come up and slurp down my fly. And I’ll strip streamers on occasion. The lure of big fish gets my heart pumping as much as the next guy. But especially early in the year, and anytime that the dry fly or streamer action is slow, I’ll tie on a couple of nymphs without hesitation or guilt. We’re not talking competition-style nymphing here, just good-old indicator and split-shot nymphing. And I’ll not just switch to nymphs because of their effectiveness. I’ll do it because I like it.

Admittedly, I prefer to nymph while wading. It has a certain timeless rhythm to it. Cast, follow, mend, follow, take a couple of steps upstream, repeat. And it requires unwavering focus and attention.

On a guide trip last summer, a client accused me of “dumbing-it-down” when I switched from a dry/dropper to an indicator rig. No, I was just doing my best to get her into some fish, and the other method wasn’t doing it for us that day. The negative perception is out there. Just when did indicator nymphing become the dreaded, yawn-inducing “bobber-watching?” The purview of the beginner and the unenlightened? Yes, it is a great way to get introduced to the sport. But to do it well requires as much practice and skill as any other method of fly fishing. And more concentration.

So here’s to all you closet nymphers out there. Let others sneer; it’s their loss. Let’s nymph and be proud.


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