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.
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.
Many brown trout begin feeding actively in the large streams in the fall. One of my most productive tactics to catch these trout is to fish a big nymph such as a Bitch Creek Nymph 8 or a Murray’s Olive Road Kill Nymph 8 upstream dead drift right below the heaviest riffles. I started doing this many years ago on the Yellowstone River just upstream of Livingston, Montana and even my guide, Ray Hurley, could not believe how many large trout fell to this tactic.
I wade into the riffle corner 100 feet below the riffle and fly fish these big nymphs upstream so they drift back downstream on a dead drift just like a real nymph would if he were caught by the current. I like to keep my cast shorter than 30 feet because it is imperative to see these strikes on my indicator system. To help see these strikes I use our Bright Butt Leaders and space two Scientific Angler Indicators along them.
I fish these riffles thoroughly by wading as far out in the river as possible and wade upstream as long as the riffle is three feet deep.