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Keith's take on the pleasures of fishing trout with nymphs.

Habits of Trout (Natural Instincts and Food Supply)

Trout have two basic instincts - survival and reproduction. Survival is the most important as if they don't survive then reproduction is a non-starter. To survive they need to eat which depends on the food supply.
The combination of key factors (weather, time of year, water characteristics, light) determines food availability and makes for the art of fly-fishing both a pleasure and a challenge. Trout react to the food supply by chasing fry, sipping dry flies (Sedge, Mayflies, Pond Olives) or taking buzzers below the surface.The fry chasing is seasonal in that it occurs when the fry are of a certain size and when they are in large groups. The sipping of dry flies is also limited to when the flies are hatching, both in terms of the time of day and time of year.
Feeding on nymphs below the surface occurs at any time of the day and at any time of the year. Obviously the trout will take Mayfly Nymph, Sedge Nymph or any other Nymph if available but it is the BUZZER (aka DUCKFLY, CHIRONOMID (CHIRO), MIDGE or DIPTERA nymph that is universally available at any time of the day or year and makes up 80% of a trout's food intake! Buzzer flies catch millions of trout.

Advantages and Challenges of Nymph Fly-Fishing


  • The insect that the Chiro pattern represents is prolific in most waters with any silt.
  • They are active in any weather conditions when other food forms are not.
  • Their body shape is similar to fly-fishing hooks.
  • Colour can vary enormously - even on the same water on the same day.
  • Their size can also vary - particularly from water to water.
  • Tying nymphs is messy and time-consuming (using floss or wool to make the body and Peacock herl for the thorax) . More recently, fine elastic was used and coated with a varnish or super-glue.

Some Nymph-Fishing Suggestions...

Fishing with nymphs is completely different to fishing lures or dry flies and is even different to fishing conventional wet flies. The biggest mistake fishermen make is that they do not fish slow enough, especially with nymphs.
Keith catches most fish with a static nymph and use flies that are larger than the naturals in the water he is fishing. To fish static, he sets the depth he wishes to fish with either a buoyant dry fly tied to the leader at the appropriate length from the nymph on the point or he uses an indicator (Bung), if allowed, in place of the dry fly. The slightest touch of a trout will register on the dry fly or indicator.
Choosing the colour of the nymph can be tricky as well but given time one tends to arrive at a small range of colour combinations.
If you are catching with a particular colour and then suddenly all activity comes to a halt try changing the colour. If this change creates no response go back to the colour you were catching on and change the depth that your nymph is holding at by moving the dry fly or indicator up the leader (deeper) or down the leader (shallower).
The nymphs also catch Trout on slow figure of eight retrieve.

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