Nymphing for Salmon

Rennie

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Probably with out thinking this is something I've done a bit of in practise but without malice aforethought!.
Any way after reading the "Bad Run" thread and the flee's illustrated for the Avon.I decided to tie some up with intentions of fishing them in specific areas on my club water.
As its a slow shallow river I've avoided weight and size concentrating on movement and form as in Marabou tails and trimmed fritz bodies(think 'Blob's).They're nowt special to look at yet(I've tied them so they won't be!), used single hooks and they're still to be trimmed to shape and essentially they're Mk.1 variations.Its doubtful I'll have any opportunity to sight fish with them, much rather prospecting known lays and small specific areas.
In all likely hood they'll be fished off switch rods, after a reasonable amount of experiences with Bothy Cats Eyelet Francis flee's, its something I'm hoping will expand my days on the water somewhat.
So for them as does, any tips?.Pedro.
 

Rrrr

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Is this like the steelhead nymphing you see from over the pond ?

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Rennie

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Not as far as I'm aware Rrrr,more like targeting Salar where you can see them in known lays and sight fishing a flee right down at their level where hopefully you can irritate a fish into taking the "flee".Of course,allways ready to be educated!.
P.
 

ballintemple

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I did a bit of it in Argentina earlier this year, for sea-trout, under tuition of an experienced local guide. My fishing partner had done it in Russia for salmon ( & had caught good fish) & he said the method was much the same - some kind of indicator, nymph (weighted) fished near bottom & dragless drifts. The guides were emphatic about the last point, and their line mending was an art. All short line work of course. We had some nice fish on one those rare sunny and calm days in that part of the world, when swinging flies etc were useless. I was amazed how effective it was & had to be told to strike for my first take - no strike, no fish. I'm now definitely going to try it for salmon here. A last point - the guides, who've seen everything over many seasons, reckoned if you couldn't get takes from sea-trout on this method, you wouldn't get them on anything else.
 

Loxie

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I've had a few nymphing. The way I do it is spot the fish and induce a take by dropping the weighted nymph in front so it sinks down to eye level then draw it away. They do take it dead drift and sinking but the induced take method is by far the most effective for me. You need to strike or you won't hook them. If you are in peaty water a fluorescent orange or yellow tungsten head will help you keep track. Also be aware that it is quite difficult to get in to a position where you can see the fish but it can't see you. Stealth is crucial.

I like the idea of fishing small nymphs dead drift under a float. One to try for me this summer. A small Frances would be interesting and I've tried it but quite half heartedly really. Food for thought.
 

Rrrr

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Wont spot anything in the tyne its allways dark brown. Could see it working on the coquet though with someone up a tree spotting like they used to do when fishing the shrimp.


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ballintemple

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Wont spot anything in the tyne its allways dark brown. Could see it working on the coquet though with someone up a tree spotting like they used to do when fishing the shrimp.


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I should have said in my previous post that we were fishing coloured water where it was impossible to see the fish - hence the indicator method.
 

Rrrr

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Makes sense. It certainly sounds like something fun to try for the summer.

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ibm59

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I've had a few over the years whilst upstream nymphing for trout.
3lb bs tippet usually makes the outcome a forgone conclusion , but not always.;)
April / May sprinters seem particularly susceptible to a dead drifted PTN of a size/weight to be just tripping along the bottom or a few inches above.
Wouldn't like to have to use the method to catch a salmon to eat though.
I'd go hungry.
Seatrout are a different story altogether.
 

Dryfly

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Think induced take for Grayling, and multiply everything by 3.

I've caught a few in Russia on a leaded Francis lifting it in the water coloum as it swings. Similar I guess.
 

Rennie

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I agree with your thinking H.,my very favourite flee for low clear water is a Black Bear Green Butt-essentially a Stoats Tail with a green backside and when tied with low water considerations in mind looks reet dead nymphy.
P.
 

sewinfly

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When we fish Woodmill my mate has great success at times with a long shank single with maybe a 3mm tungsten bead behind the eye.
The pattern can be a nymph or Amrican Express,Alexandra type fly.
This is fished on quite a short dropper maybe 2ft from the point which is usually a small plastic tube or ally.

The heavy nymph gets down first working amongst the weed or gravel,then the small tube is hovering above in the flow.

Sewinfly. ...........
 

sewinfly

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Will be at Woodmill in 3 weeks so will be giving it a go.But I usually use a Snake on its own.
But this season will use the nymph with a snake and see what happens.

Sewinfly ..............
 

PWH2016

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Tungsten/ JW nymphs

Are any of you guys able to give a couple of pointers on how to cast these v heavy nymphs. I've got a few in advance of a trip to the Itchen.

I assume you must use a heavy weight forward line, short leader and a roll cast but can they only really be cast short distances?

An overhead cast would be suicide, I imagine!

Many thanks
 

Loxie

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Are any of you guys able to give a couple of pointers on how to cast these v heavy nymphs. I've got a few in advance of a trip to the Itchen.

I assume you must use a heavy weight forward line, short leader and a roll cast but can they only really be cast short distances?

An overhead cast would be suicide, I imagine!

Many thanks

I use a 9' 6" 8wt with a DT line, a 9' 17lb platil tapered leader with about a foot or so chopped off. A tippet ring and 2 ' of 15lb fluoro complete the rig. Overhead casting requires great care and an open loop but can be done!
 

HantsAvon

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Are any of you guys able to give a couple of pointers on how to cast these v heavy nymphs. I've got a few in advance of a trip to the Itchen.

I assume you must use a heavy weight forward line, short leader and a roll cast but can they only really be cast short distances?

An overhead cast would be suicide, I imagine!

Many thanks

They are usually just dropped into the water close to the bank or roll cast a short distance.
I managed to raise a salmon yesterday on the Hampshire Avon, but it didn't take......exciting to see them follow the nymph up through the water (and obviously better when they take it)!
Good luck on the Itchen.
 

Fairhope

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Here you go PWH2016. Written by Donny Donovan who taught me how to nymph for salmon at Nursling. Wonderful. Good luck.

Salmon on the JW weighted nymph.

There is a chapter in the classic Frank Sawyer book “Nymphs and the trout” where the author describes his attempts at catching salmon using his weighted nymphs both on the Avon at Somerley and on the Test at Broadlands. If I were to teach a complete novice how to fish for salmon using a weighted nymph at Nursling in this year 2004, I would show them that particular chapter and say that is exactly how to do it. It is both perfectly written and perfectly descriptive of how we fish for salmon today using weighted nymphs. The incredible thing is that Frank Sawyer wrote it very nearly fifty years ago. So much for progress. Frank Sawyer was a river keeper way ahead of his time in both fishing techniques and in his ideas on fisheries management and a lot of what is now regarded as standard fishing practice, is testament to the brilliance of him.

Having said that Sawyer’s nymph technique for salmon cannot be bettered, I would still like to give one or two examples of my own observations at Nursling and hope that the great man wouldn’t think that I was in any way questioning his thoughts. Incidentally, Vic Foot (Nursling keeper for 56 years) remembers well Frank Sawyer coming to Nursling and failing to catch a salmon using the more conventional flies. Perhaps that is when he decided on trying his weighted trout nymphs?

The fishermen in the early 90’s who developed a nymph fishing method on the Lower Test through trying various colours and hook sizes etc say they were completely unaware of Sawyers efforts fifty years previously. Mmmm!

At Nursling I fish for salmon using a 9’6 sage rod rated for a six weight, although I use a seven, floating line with a 15 lb leader about seven feet long. Not your normal salmon set up but perfect for the Test at Nursling. I have caught a salmon of 20 lb on this rod but would think that this would be about the limit. All salmon caught on the Test are now returned so they need to be played hard, brought to the net as quickly as possible and returned to the river. A salmon of 10 lb can be hooked and landed within five minutes if played properly and netted smartly. The 20 lb fish took nearly forty minutes to land and pushed the rod to its limit and throughout the fight I can remember thinking that I wouldn’t want to catch anything bigger on such a set up. Without snapping the rod, there is very little you can do with such a big fish using a trout rod. I have fished the weighted nymph on the Tweed in Scotland using the exact same method only fishing with a double handed 15 foot rod which would give much more control on such a big river with the possibility of much bigger fish. With practice the weighted nymph can be Spey cast and fished in the same delicate manner on the Tweed with a 15 foot rod as we fish it on the Test using a 9’ 6 trout rod.

The whole idea of the weighted nymph and without doubt the most important part is to get down to the fish. You must lift that nymph through the salmon’s eye line. The great advantage of fishing at Nursling is that you can normally see the salmon and so you are basically stalking it and can see everything happening in front of you. I have watched with fascination a salmon completely ignore a nymph not more than six inches above it’s head but cast a little further upstream, a little more time to get the depth, bounce that nymph on the gravel in front of the fish and slowly lift through it’s eye line and it cannot help but follow it to the surface as if magnetised. I should add that this is of course not a 100% guarantee and as with all fishing, there is always thankfully the exception to the rule.

Most of the fun fishing this method is in the actual stalking of the fish, having a target to aim for and in seeing the take which is the same enjoyment I get from fishing a dry fly to a rising trout. That said, there are occasions when you can’t see anything in particularly deep or coloured water but there is still that same feeling of excitement as the nymph slowly makes it’s way to the top likely to be ambushed at any moment. Since fishing the weighted nymph I have not once foul hooked a fish as with at least 75% of all takes you can watch the salmon have the nymph, strike instantaneously then hang on for dear life whilst he makes that amazing first dash for freedom.

I usually prefer to fish downstream to a salmon as much more control can be felt whilst trying to get the nymph in the right place and loops of slack can be roll cast upstream to buy the extra depth. I have caught fish using the more traditional upstream method but because we only use a short leader and have to cast quite a way in front of the salmon to allow for the drift, it is very easy to spook the fish. With salmon I have found them more difficult to catch once they are aware of you and although they tend to stay in their lay they seem to switch off and ignore your attempts. Sea trout on the other hand, are gone as soon as they see you so a stealthy approach is a necessity although on many occasions your first sighting of a sea trout is as it disappears into the depths. It does surprise me how little consideration fishermen give to concealment and if I see a fisherman crawl on all fours towards his target then the more confidence I have in him having a successful day. Keeping out of sight is one of the most important things when nymph fishing in any gin clear chalk stream especially when you are after salmon or sea trout.

Over the last five or six years we have experimented with all kinds of different nymphs of all colours and of every size and we now have what I believe to be the perfect salmon catching Nursling nymph although it must be remembered that it might not necessarily suit other waters! When you read of Sawyer and the development of his nymphs he was basically trying to replicate the trout’s natural food and so size and pattern was absolutely critical. As we all know there is really no natural food in the rivers for salmon as they have more important things on their minds once they have entered fresh water and whilst some salmon flies might represent shrimps etc in the hope of triggering the memory of what might have been it’s last meal at sea, our nymphs are not an imitation of anything in particular. I think that the salmon takes a nymph through a mixture of annoyance and aggression and that the colour is not of particular importance (apart from the last couple of weeks in September) although the weight is because unless it is fished through the eye line, then it is very rarely successful.
It is always an exciting time when John White (Inventor of the JW Nursling nymph) turns up with something new to try whether a different colour, size or weight. Most of our nymphs are black with a silver bead and I would use nothing else in clear water. In coloured water I change to a red one although this is as much for the convenience of me being able to see it. I also sometimes fish a red nymph later in the year when the cock fish seem to become more aggressive and do seem attracted to the colour. The point I am trying to make is that our way of fishing the weighted nymph for salmon at Nursling in the year 2004 is nothing as precise or as exact as what Frank Sawyer was doing for trout over fifty years ago at Netheravon. As I have previously said, he found that he could catch salmon using the same method although with the trout his deception involved replication where as ours, whilst being just as exciting, is more to do with annoyance and perhaps aggression and the more cynical fluff chuckers amongst us might say that that is one of the many differences between trout fishing and salmon fishing. You trick the trout where as we just eventually **** the salmon off!

To see a salmon rise from the depths in pursuit of your nymph is fantastically exciting and half the fun is to actually see the take and strike accordingly which I do as soon as the fish’s mouth closes on the nymph. I find it very difficult to fish in Scotland and to let the salmon run with the fly before lifting into it because at Nursling the nymph will very often be spat out within seconds unless set very quickly. The unfortunate thing about this method of salmon fishing is in having confidence in it to begin with and in persisting until successful. As soon as you catch the first fish – or at least raise one to the surface, you’ll know what I’m talking about but it is easy to lose faith. Un-successful fishermen often complain that they don’t feel as if they are fishing properly and that they would feel more comfortable casting thirty yards of pointless line taking a step forward each time and working methodically through a pool on a big river until something grabs the end. I also like casting but what works on one river may not necessarily work on another and once you have seen the nymph fishing technique work, you are of course well and truly hooked.
Thanks Frank.

Donny Donovan 2006
 

offshore

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I have never tried this technique; infact I dont think I own a nymph fly yet.

To get the fish down to salmon level, is it purely done by the weight of the nymph, or do you use a weighted polyleader on a floating line.

I assume its normally done in low water; is it a sink and draw technique?

Thanks
 

iainmortimer

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I have never tried this technique; infact I dont think I own a nymph fly yet.

To get the fish down to salmon level, is it purely done by the weight of the nymph, or do you use a weighted polyleader on a floating line.

I assume its normally done in low water; is it a sink and draw technique?

Thanks


On the Test, a number of flow diverters have been built on the salmon beats to create long, deep scour holes by the bank which is just as well as the nymphs are to heavy to cast. Instead you just sort of roll cast them so that they sink to the bottom at the head of the scour hole which generally means the nymph hitting the water two or three feet above and a foot or two out from the end of the divertor. When it touches down you then smoothly lift it to the surface, pause briefly and let it sink again a few inches back and then repeat. As you further down the hole you may need to put a few coils of line upstream to get enough length out to reach bottom. So it is sink and draw in a sense but unlike for pike where you'd often keep the lure below mid water, for this technique its really important to hit surface and pause for that's often when a fish will grab hold so don't rush to 're-cast.

You will also get the odd bonus (nuisance?) trout and grayling when the salmon aren't playing ball!
 
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LouisCha

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I have never tried this technique; infact I dont think I own a nymph fly yet.

To get the fish down to salmon level, is it purely done by the weight of the nymph, or do you use a weighted polyleader on a floating line.

I assume its normally done in low water; is it a sink and draw technique?

Thanks

I can only talk about nymphing for salmon on the chalkstreams-

Yes all the weight is in the fly, like czech nymphing, sometimes I use a short thick leader or just a very long leader and no fly line outside the rod tip (french leader style).

It doesn't need to be low water, but to be effective you must be able to see the fish and present a fly directly on their nose (sometimes they won't react if its 10cm either side of their nose). So it's best/easiest if you can creep up on a high bank, over fish lying directly under your feet.

Personally I don't bother using a nymph unless I can see a fish, or know a likely place where a fish could be hiding.

Dead drift works, but sink and draw is better.
 

offshore

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Thanks for above posts. Any favoured patterns other than those mentioned at the start of the thread?
 
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