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Vail Valley Anglers
Introduction to Euro Nymphing
Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

Introduction to Euro Nymphing


Guest Contributor: Jack Arnot

European or “Euro” Nymphing is a versatile and extremely effective style of fishing that allows you to fish efficiently. You can achieve the depth required at a faster rate and stay incredibly connected to your flies throughout a drift. Euro Nymphing may sound like a “mystery” because it wasn't originated here in the United States, but in fact has been the main style of fishing in European countries for a very long period of time and the technique used for competitive fly fishing.

Euro Nymphing has many advantages compared to other fly fishing set-ups such as indicator fishing. It starts with the following:

  1. The rod tip is elevated enough so the sighter, 2-3 brightly colored sections of the line that act as the indicator, is visible and straight almost all the time. This makes for a well-connected, controlled drift.
  2. The angler is also able to "lead the flies" in a drift and present different sighter angles to reach various depths of a run which eliminate all weights and conventional indicators.
  3. In place of split shot, most flies used with Euro Nymphing are weighted with quality tungsten beads.
  4. Euro Nymphing can detect strikes with the slightest of movement in the sighter so set the hook often!
  5. It requires a lighter fly line then usual so the sag won’t change the speed of the flies or hinder the sighter angle or drift in any way.

Personally, I have fished many different lines and found the Rio Euro Nymph 80ft double taper line to be adaptable in most, if not all conditions. There is virtually no mending required with Euro lines as they are light enough to pick up off the water and you don’t have to keep adjusting the line constantly with the current. This is a very important factor when fishing because you want the flies to be presented in the most natural way and maximize drift time.

When nymphing, I tend to fish a two fly rig with my flies about 50-60cm apart from each other on a "tag" system which allows the top fly to move freely and is easier to change out (see "Rigging the Leader" below). Some people prefer to put flies very close together but with proper weight and drift speed I find spacing them out a little longer helps in the long run.

Lastly, one of the most important factors is the weight of flies. Paying attention to how deep a fly will sink can be vital to catching fish. When you eliminate traditional weight with split shot and use varied tungsten beaded flies, you can fish smaller and heavier weighted patterns that get in the zone quickly. This is perfect for picky fish and allows you to cover the hardest flowing water in the river to a shallow riffle with just a quick change of fly pattern with a different weight. It also saves time because you don’t need to adjust a strike indicator or split-shot---just alter the fly pattern and tungsten bead weight and then consider tippet size.

My leader is 12ft of 12lb. fluorocarbon for the butt section, 8ft of 10lb fluorocarbon for the mid-section, finished off with a 2ft-tapered colored sighter. This leader is great for searching heavy, faster runs and still works really well in technical situations like pocket water with small flies.

The main reason Euro Nymphing has proven so adaptive is you're in control of every aspect of the line, leader, flies, and rod. Every part can be dialed in just the way you need it to be for the short time you’re fishing. There is less guess work as to what the flies are doing below the surface since you know immediately from the feed back in the sighter and length of the two flies spaced out. Overall, Euro Nymphing is a streamlined and efficient way to catch fish and I would recommend it to any one who is currently fly fishing or wants to start.

You don't have to cast far to Euro Nymph either so it's great for the beginner fly fisher! Rods are longer in length, typically 10ft, 3wt. vs. a traditional 9ft. 5wt trout set up.

Jack Arnot is our youngest and still one of our most accomplished ambassadors.  He is a junior at Vail Christian High School and still finds time to be a competitive angler and avid fly tier. Outside of fly fishing he excels in cross country and track. This kid is one to watch - check him out on social media @jackarnot.  

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Mothers on the Fly | Natalie Bennion
Fly Fishing News Vail Colorado

Mothers on the Fly | Natalie Bennion


Natalie Bennion (@a_ladys_angle) is first a wife and mother of two - but what caught our attention about Natalie and her online presence was her fishy-ness, her photography and her positivity. In a recent interview she was kind enough to share with us a glimpse into her busy life and boy, was it a breath of fresh air. This mother's day we celebrate the female outdoorswomen who are paving the way, figuring it out, and making it happen. Thank you moms!

What is your biggest pet peeve while fishing? Tying a 3 rig set up and then snagging on the bottom of the river and losing the entire set up on the first drift.

What is the story of your first fly fishing experience? I picked up my first fly rod in September 2015. Over the past year or so, I have had many friends ask me why I began this journey to educate myself in the art of fly-fishing. In my mind, the answer is simple. I want to be on the river with my husband and son making memories. Why do the men always get to have all the fun? Sure, my husband and I have to make some less than ideal fly fishing compromises handling a small child around a roaring river, but we always make it work. The day is always well spent and the memories are invaluable.  These experiences one the river with my son and husband are worth more value than any treasure this world has to offer. It is the entire experience, time under the trees, in the mountains, the sounds of the river that got me hooked to fly fishing.

Do you have a good luck charm? My son. He cheers for me on the sidelines of the river. He gets to release every single one of my catches. It’s his favorite part.

What is the first thing you would tell a novice angler? Personal growth is exactly that, personal. Don’t compare your beginning journey to some-one else’s years of experience. Be patient with yourself.

What is your favorite fly rod? Haha, I am a poor college student and currently fish with a simple Redington rod. I have yet to discover my favorite brand and rod.

What is the craziest thing you have seen on a river bank? While living in Alaska our close friends saw a seal swim up river to clean out the last of the King Salmon. This seal was nowhere near his ocean home. It was insane!

Highlights of this past year? The biggest highlight was having the amazing opportunity to live in Alaska for 15 weeks. A different kind of fly-fishing that I will never forget.

Wade or float? Wading… for sure. It wins all day long. Although, I do get a little jealous when a drifter floats by and reaches that one hole I will never get to.

East or west [coast]? Spirit of the West baby!

Do you listen to music while fishing? If so, what do you listen to? No, I get to listen to a chatty 4 year old talk about Transformers, pooping and bears.

What is your drink of choice on the water? Water

What is your signature snack/restaurant on the water? I keep it simple with a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Makes a great snack for the kiddo too.

What is your favorite: nymphing, streamers, dry flies? I love nymphing. Probably because it’s how I originally learned to fly fish with it being fall. I love any kind of red zebra midge, rainbow warrior and have killed it in the winter with shrimp mysis.

What is your day job? What do you love most about it? I am a mom and a portrait photographer. I love being on my own time schedule and being my own boss.

What do you want to be when you “grow-up”? Grow up ha-ha? I don’t think I’ll ever grow up. But being a mom is pretty dang cool.

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Fly Fishing News Vail Colorado

Video: Waterworks Lamson Exclusive Interview


“You heard it here first…” – Ryan Harrison, founding partner of Waterworks Lamson

2017 is already shaping up to be an incredible year of innovation for the fly fishing industry and Waterworks Lamson is no exception. This exclusive interview includes mountain bike technology, innovation, and what makes this company get up in the morning.

Not to mention the much anticipated Saltwater Reel and the first Waterworks Lamson…fly rod?! We aren’t kidding, this classroom style “Bat Cave Session” is worth a watch. 

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