.......................  ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

09/27/09

Catching Yellowstone Trout in Cold Water - Part 6

One of the best method of getting your fly down into deeper water or pockets
where trout may hold in slow moving areas of cold water without allowing the
faster surface water to interfere, is the "high stickin" method of nymphing. This is
a short line technique used to basically keep your fly line out of the water. Doing
so helps eliminate much of the drag caused by faster moving water on or near
the surface pulling the fly line. The resistance of a smaller diameter leader isn't
as great as the large diameter fly line, consequently, there is less drag.

First of all, let me say that not all of the slow moving water down deep is under
fast moving water on the surface. You want to also fish the current seams where
the slow water meets the fast on the surface and the slow moving water and
eddies that are outside of the fast current. The water deep down on the bottom
may possible be moving slowly the same as it is on the surface. Remember that
wearing polarized glasses will help you see where the deepest water is.  

I suggest a rather long leader and tippet combination of at least nine feet. The
smaller the diameter of the leader, the less drag there will be. I don't suggest
anything larger than a 4X prefabricated leader. I often use a 5X. Anything much
smaller will begin to present other problems when you hook the bottom or try to
set the hook on a fish.

You want the fly to be weighted heavily to get it down on the bottom quickly. I
prefer using non-lead (non-toxic), split shot about ten inches above the fly. I do
not like bead head flies although some of them work fairly well. Nymphs don't
have bead heads.

Weighted flies are okay, but you will still need added weight in most situations.
Split shot will let you to adjust the weight for various depth and current
conditions. Since the nymph is behind the weight, It allows the fly to move more
like a natural nymph that a weighted fly does.

I suggest a fairly stiff tipped fly rod with some backbone. This is a good
application for a fast tapered rod or fast tip rod. I would use a nine foot rod, not
a shorter one. Longer rods up to ten feet work even better. From a casting
standpoint, (you don't actually cast) you just want to make sure the rod will
handle the heavy weighted fly. A five or six weight rod should work fine.

You want to be able to detect strikes by feeling the takes or slight taps as well
as observing the leader at the point it enters the water. It isn't always possible to
feel the takes but it usually is possible to notice a change in the way the leader
drifts through the water. If it stops, or moves in a direction other than directly
downstream, it may be the result of a trout taking the fly. A highly sensitive rod
helps you detect strikes.

Continued..

Copyright 2009 James Marsh