Tag Archives: nymphs

Good Nymph Fisherman

Good Nymph Fly Fisherman Blog- Murray’s Fly Shop- Edinburg, Virginia

I have a friend who is an especially good nymph fisherman. Whether we are fishing the Madison River for browns or the Blue Ridge Mountains for brook trout, he catches many nice trout.  He does this by fishing nymphs upstream dead drift.
When watching him, I detect a common trait which is a landmark of many serious nymph anglers. That is, at some point in the last half of the drift he sets the hook on the majority of the casts. Does this mean he is getting this many strikes from trout? No, but when he is not getting a strike, he is bumping the streambottom with the nymph.
This tells me that we should all consider fishing out nymphs deeply with a natural drift.

My Five Favorite Flies for Falling Water in the Mountain Trout Streams

My Five Favorite Flies for Falling Water in the Mountain Trout Streams

The mountain trout streams are dropping but the levels are still full so I use some dry flies and some nymphs. I still prefer coming into the heads of the streams from the trailheads I discussed in my books, Virginia Blue-Ribbon Streams and Trout Fishing in the Shenandoah National Park.
My favorite dry flies are the Murray’s Brown Drake size 14, Mr. Rapidan Black Delta Wing Caddis size 14 and Mr. Rapidan Parachute size 14.
An effective technique which is ideal in this water level is to attach one of these dry flies to a Murray’s Classic 7.5 foot 5X Leader. Then attach a Mr. Rapidan Bead Head Nymph size 14 or a Murray’s Dark Miracle Stonefly Nymph size 14 to a twenty four inch 5X dropper below the dry fly.

Switch Rods For Smallmouth Bass

Jeff and I have been using our Scott Switch Rods for bass fishing in the the rivers for many years. Here are a few of the great angling features  the switch rods help us with.  If I am wading a river where there is a solid line of trees behind me that would prevent a regular back cast with my regular, single hand, smallmouth bass rod, the switch rod easily lets me roll out long casts.
When I am fishing nymphs and streamers across fast currents the extra length of my switch rod easily helps me reach high in order to negate the fast currents before me that would rob me of depth. Also in similar situations I can use long controlled mends in order to swim my flies deeply.
Making long casts is easy with a switch rod so I can fish poppers along the far shaded banks when the river before me is too deep to wade.

Fishing Nymphs and Streamers Deeply

Fishing Nymphs and Streamers Deeply- Murray’s Fly Shop

We have many excellent sinking head and sinking tip fly lines that are a great help in fishing our nymphs and streamers deeply along the streambottom. However, I find that in order to take full advantage of these fly lines it helps to use a Murray’s Fluorocarbon 6 foot Sinking Line Leaders. Longer leaders negate the forward sinking portions of these fly lines. They also prevent the flies from swimming as deeply as desired.

Harry Murray
Murray’s Fly Shop
PO Box 156
121 South Main Street
Edinburg, Virginia 22824
Phone Number: 540-984-4212
Email Address: info@murraysflyshop.com
Website: www.murraysflyshop.com

Sink Tip Mini Lead Head

Instant Sink Tip Class III (4 feet)
Instant Sink Tip Class III

I used to make these out of lead core trolling line in many lengths from four inches to ten feet long. I whipped a loop on both ends.  Today I have settled for a four foot model. By inserting these into a regular leader with a loop-to-loop connection, you can fish streamers and nymphs to extra depths. These do not work as well nor cast as well as the Scientific Anglers Sonar Sink Tip III Fly Lines but they are an inexpensive substitute.

Natural Animal Fur Dubbing Materials

Natural Beaver Dubbing Fur and Natural Mink Dubbing Fur.
Natural Beaver Dubbing Fur and Natural Mink Dubbing Fur.

For very small nymphs I often use natural furs right off the skin after removing the guard hairs. These furs produce flies with a very effective sheen which mimics the subdued luster of the natural nymphs. These are very easy to dub and are inexpensive.

If you are interested in fly tying, check out our Fly Tying Workshops we offer this winter.

Dubbing for Fly Bodies

Fly Rite is on the left and Hare's Ear Natural Fur Blend is on the right.
Fly Rite is on the left and Hare’s Ear Natural Fur Blend is on the right.
  • For dry flies I like to use a very fine poly blend of dubbing material such as Fly Rite 34 on the left which I use on my Mr. Rapidan Dry Flies. This material is very fine, making it easy to dub flies as small as a size 24 with a smoothly tapered body. It is lighter than water and is does not adsorb water thus producing a high floating dry fly. This comes in many colors and is inexpensive.
  • For nymphs and pupa I like to dub blends of natural furs because these produce buggy looking insect bodies. Counter wrapping these bodies with gold, silver, copper or olive wire produces a neatly segmented tapered fly body. However, if you wind the same ribbing materials with a forward motion you can produce an insect body with translucent living appearance.

Hen Saddles

Speckled Indian Hen Saddle
Speckled Indian Hen Saddle

Speckled Indian Hen Saddles are great for hackleing nymphs and soft hackles. They are dyed in many different colors, are inexpensive and you can tie hundreds of great flies with each saddle.
I like to keep this hackle sparse on my Mr. Rapidan Soft Hackle Nymph flies, Mr. Rapidan Bead Head Nymphs flies and all of my Murray’s Magic Caddis Pupa flies because I believe this conveys a realistic fly-action to the trout.

If you are interested in fly tying check out our fly tying classes we are offering in the winter.

Thermometer

Stream Thermometer
Stream Thermometer
I rely strongly on my stream thermometer to help me select proper flies to fish.
I rely strongly on my stream thermometer to help me select proper flies to fish.

My Stream Thermometer is a very important part of my trout and smallmouth bass angling.  For example, on mountain trout streams the first thing I do is take the stream temperature. In early March if it is much below 40 degrees I know I will catch more trout on nymphs than I will on drys. In August a mountain trout stream temperature of 68 degrees in the afternoon means the trout are not going to feed heavily. The next trip I should get there about dawn when the stream may be several degrees cooler.
A smallmouth bass trip early in the spring with a river temperature of 52 degrees tells me to fish my flies slowly along the streambottom.
These stream temperatures go on my calendar at home along with readings over the last twelve years. Checking these helps me plan future trips on where to go and what to use.

Ruffled Grouse

Ruffled Grouse Body Feathers
Ruffled Grouse Body Feathers

Ruffled Grouse Body Feathers are some of my favorite materials for hackling nymphs and soft hackle flies. These feathers are easy to use and produce a very realistic pulsating fly action in the stream.

Murray’s Strymph

Murray's Olive Strymph Smallmouth Bass Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
By carefully designing the Murray’s Strymph, Harry Murray was able to produce a fly that would pass for both a streamer and a nymph.

There are days when the smallmouth bass feed heavily on minnows and fishing streamers catches these fish. However, there are days when they feed mostly on natural nymphs and we catch these smallmouth bass on “artificial nymphs”. Realizing this, I decided to develop one fly to be fished as a Streamer to catch the minnow feeders as well as matching the natural nymphs which could be fished as a Nymph. I developed the Strymph drawing on Ron Kommer’s idea of using ostrich herl in the tail and Charlie Brooks concept of tying underwater flies “in the round”.
Thus the Strymph can be fished upstream dead drift and across the current in a swing nymphing method both of which match our natural nymphs.
The Strymph can easily be fished across stream with a deep swimming action which matches all of our minnows. Simply stated, there is no wrong way to fish the Murray’s Strymph, and it is equally effective for both smallmouth bass and trout.
If you are interested in learning how to tie the Murray’s Strymph, here is the tying kit or you can just purchase the tying instructions recipe sheet.

Simple Flies

Murray's Olive, Cream and Black Strymph.
The Murray’s Strymph is an outstanding fly for both smallmouth bass and trout.

Several years ago I stopped in a fly shop in Montana which was owned by a good friend. One of his employees was an excellent fly tyer and the gentleman, who had never fished for smallmouth bass but knowing I fished for them often, pulled out several beautiful, well tied flies he called smallmouth streamers for me to see. I complimented him on the great appearance of his smallmouth streamers, some of which he had skillfully incorporated more than twenty different body parts.  When we were outside in our car I turned to my son, Jeff, and said, “Those were some of the most beautiful smallmouth streamers I have ever seen, but I do not believe they will catch many fish because with all that material on them it will be next to impossible to sink them.”
Several years before this we had done extensive testing on new fly designs and found that in many cases the most sparsely tied nymphs and streamers caught the most bass and trout. I believe much of this success came from the facts that these flies sank well, were strongly suggestive of the natural nymphs and minnows I was striving to mimic and could easily be made to duplicate the swimming action of these naturals.
Some of our flies which fall into this classification are groups of flies in our Shenandoah Simple Streamer series for both bass and trout, the Mr. Rapidan Soft Hackle series  for both bass and trout, many of flies (although they are drys) in my “Change of Pace” trout series, the Murray’s Marauders, the Murray’s Floating Minnows and the Murray’s Strymphs.
The outstanding book, Simple Flies by Morgan Lyle shows how to tie and fish fifty two flies for trout, bass and in saltwater. If you are considering tying some new flies for your personal use I believe using the simple approach I have used in many of my flies and those Morgan Lyle discusses in his great book will help you catch many fish.

New Scientific Anglers Fly Line

Scientific Anglers Sink Tip III Fly Line Murray's Fly Shop VA
Scientific Anglers Sink Tip III Fly Line

Part One Blog on Scientific Anglers Sonar Sink Tip Fly Line

Scientific Anglers New Sonar Sink Tip 3 Fly Line which sinks at 2.50 to 4.25 inches per second is an excellent fly line for both trout and bass fishing. This enables us to fish nymphs and streamers much deeper than is possible with a floating fly line. Due to the new taper it casts just as smoothly as the weight forward floating fly line. We stock this in all weights from 5 through 8. I use the Murray’s Fluorocarbon Sinking 6 foot Leader on these fly lines. This replaces the Scientific Anglers Sonar Sink Tip III Sinking Tip Fly Line.

Blend Your Dubbing

Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly Murray's Fly Shop Virginia - Blending dubbing
In the old days I had to dye and blend the dubbing for my Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly. Today fly rite number 34 is perfect.

Fly Tying Tip: Need dubbing material for fly tying? Blend your own custom colored dubbing to meet your fly tying needs.

I am a great believer in blending my dubbing materials for dry flies and nymphs. For example, when I first developed the Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly, about thirty years ago, I wanted it to have a body color which matched that of the Epeorus pleuralis adult mayfly. There was no dubbing material, either synthetic or natural fur, which matched this insect so I had to blend my own dubbing to get the mottled tannish-yellowish-olive body of the real mayfly. After much blending with various colors I camp up with the perfect mixture.
You can easily blend natural furs and fine diameter synthetics in order to get the exact color you desire. I especially like Australian Opossum, Mink, Beaver, Muskrat, Hare’s Ear and very fine synthetics. If you are tying nymphs leave some of the guard hairs in the natural furs, if your fly tying calls for dry flies remove most of the guard hairs. If I am tying only a few flies I will often blend the materials with two fine tooth combs. If I am tying a large number of flies I use a food blender or coffee grinder to mix the furs after wiping it down well with a fabric softener sheet to lessen static buildup.  Next week I cover dying fly tying materials.

Tying a Deer Hair Bass Bug

In my fly tying classes I teach how to tie flies for both trout and bass. These include dry flies, nymphs, streamers and deer hair bass bugs.
In my fly tying classes I teach how to tie flies for both trout and bass. These include dry flies, nymphs, streamers and deer hair bass bugs.

When I teach my winter fly tying classes, the beginning fly tyers are amazed how quickly they learn to tie great deer hair bass bugs. I teach this with two simple rules, (1) Be sure to clean out all of the short hair and fuzz from each pinch of deer hair before you tie it on and (2) Keep a bare hook shank ahead of each pinch of deer hair you tie on.

This two hour class will teach you how to tie drys, nymphs,  streamers and deer hair bass bugs.  We do not supply the materials, you can purchase a fly tying kit from us or watch!

Fly Tying Classes for 2015-2016
November 21, 2015                         10:00 am- 12:00 pm
January 23, 2016                               10:00 am- 12:00 pm
February 27, 2016                             10:00 am- 12:00 pm

Mastering Trout Nymph Fishing

 

Mayfly Nymph Murray's Fly Shop VA Fly Fishing
One can often catch many trout in high cold water by using nymph patterns which match the natural insects.

Here is how you can easily solve the dilemma of trout nymph fishing. On a day when you have caught several dozen trout on dry flies you know they are feeding well. Now, replace the dry fly with a nymph and continue fishing the same sections of the pools. If you do not continue catching as many trout as you did with dry’s the reason is very simple: You are getting strikes but not detecting them.
I find that the new Murray’s Trout Nymph leader with its special knotted taper and two Scientific Anglers Indicators spaced along it is a great help in discerning the strikes.
As the nymph drifts naturally along the stream bottom be sure to retrieve the line with long line hand strips. Short pulls mask the strike. When you see the strike set the hook quickly with both the line hand and the rod.

Fly Promo 10% off

Fly Promo 10% off Stock up on your favorite dry flies, nymphs, streamers, poppers and bass bugs for the upcoming spring and summer.  10% off all fliesOffer good through March 15