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Nymphing 101

The fall fishing season is in full swing. But my opportunities are coming to a close. The sun usually sets around 5:00 p.m., and I am now getting ready for some basketball. Fingers are still crossed. Believe it or not, this is the best time of year to throw a line. I have been out

The fall fishing season is in full swing. But my opportunities are coming to a close. The sun usually sets around 5:00 p.m., and I am now getting ready for some basketball. Fingers are still crossed.

Believe it or not, this is the best time of year to throw a line. I have been out as much as I can. I spent a good five hours in the pouring rain on Wednesday. Capturing some photos and recording some footage is my new favorite thing. Embarrassing. My son introduced me to a new app. He helps me crop and post for a fee. I have made several introductory fishing videos. The Lycoming Creek Chronicles is once again trending. I still plan to lose a lot of money because there are no major sponsors. My recent project actually made it to You Tube. Episode VII is coming soon.

The blue-wing olives are still hatching, and this provides some of the year’s best nymph fishing. Nymphs are aquatic insects that are still in their busy underwater stages. It is said that over 90 percent of a trout’s diet consists of the little critters, which are why these bugs are so effective on a year-round basis. The primary nymph that we most often imitate is this blue-wing olive. Despite their small size, trout focus on these insects because of their abundance.

Again, I am just a fly fishing novice, and I have only been at this since COVID. I still have a long way to go, but I am starting to figure it out. The basic nymph setup consists of a 9-foot leader, to which I add another 12 to 18 inches of tippet. At the end of that piece is where I tie on my first nymph. Some folks will add another fly section to the bend of the hook, but I normally stick with one. A split shot weight is added if needed. I usually use a small weight a few inches above. The last step in a basic nymph rig is to find that lucky strike indicator or bobber.

The amount of weight I use will vary. A lot depends on the speed and depth of the water. The key here is to use enough weight to have your nymph bouncing along the bottom. Trout are now sluggish, and they don’t need to work as hard. My placement of the strike indicator also depends, but it should be placed at one and a half times the depth as a general rule of thumb. Always be sure that your presentation moves with the flow of the current. Your nymph should drift naturally.

Pay close attention to your elements. The water is now crystal clear, and the fish will spook easy. Patience is so important. Throw a few casts upstream to practice. Think slow. Watch that indicator and focus on what happens. You should be able to tell the difference between a strike and brushing the bottom. When you see a sudden twitch or pause, simply raise your rod. Again. There is no need to set the hook like Bill Dance or Jimmy Houston. This obviously takes time to master. It only requires a slight tug. Don’t get too excited — and stay focused. This is much easier said than done. It will get better. Trust me.

The Delayed Harvest section near Powys Curve is my personal favorite. I fish this stretch all year long, and it provides some exceptional opportunities. I managed to catch several healthy rainbows in the downpours. My lovely bride called me a moron for heading out in the extreme conditions. I had to get out. Fishing is my zen. I stayed patient and finally found the right combination. Catching fish is a blast, especially all alone on Lycoming Creek with a fly rod. Give nymphing a try, kids. You will be rewarded. Cheers.

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