Most of the insects eaten by fish are immature forms. The immatures are present throughout the year, the adults for only brief periods, sometimes just a few hours. Because artificia1 nymphs imitate these immature forms, they catch fish at any time during the fishing season.

Immature Insects and the Flies That Imitate Them

Immature Insects and the Flies That Imitate Them

Mayfly Artificial Baits
MAYFLY NYMPHS usually have three tails. They have a single pair of wing pads and a soft, slender body. lmitations are usua11y tied on size 6 to 18 hooks.
Caddisfly Larvae Flyfishing Nymph Pics
CADDISFLY LARVAE (top) live in cases of sand or sticks (middle). Pupae (bottom) have immature wings. lmitations, in sizes 10 to 16, resemble all three forms.

You can catch fish on nymphs whether or not a hatch is in progress. During a hatch, fish may feed on the immature forms swimming or crawling toward the surface rather than on the floating adults. Most anglers use dry flies when a hatch is on, but nymphs often take more fish. When the water is cold and no insects are hatching, nymphs outfish most other flies by a wide margin.

Most nymphs simulate real food organisms more closely than do wet flies. Like wet flies, nymphs are tied on relatively heavy hooks using absorbent materials, so they sink quickly. Most wet flies have wings; nymphs do not. Nymphs are sometimes diffi-

Images Swimming Nymphs
STONEFLY NYMPHS have two tails, two pairs of wing pads and a relatively hard, thick body. lmitations are generally tied on size 1/0 to 12 hooks.
DRAGONFLY NYMPHS have a wide, flattened abdomen. They have short tails or none at all. lmitations are normally tied on size 2 to 8 hooks.

cult to distinguish from wingless wet flies. Tradition dictates how these similar patterns are classified. Some nymphs are exact imitations, duplicating minute details of the immature forms on which the fish are feeding. Exact imitations are often tied with stiff, hard materials. Some have legs made of feather quills that have been bent, then lacquered to hold their shape. These nymphs have little action when twitched, but work well on a drag-free drift.

Other nymphs are impressionistic, suggesting the general size, shape and color of natural forms. The soft materials used in tying give them a more realis tic action. These flies will work on a drag-free drift, but are better suited to a twitching retrieve. Most expert fly fishermen prefer these impressionistic types over the exact imitations.

A few nymphs have bodies made of buoyant polypropylene yarn, so they can be fished in the surface film. These patterns, called emergers, imitate the immature forms as they shed their cases and transform into adults.

Nymphs are often weighted for fishing deep. Lead or copper wire wound under the body material makes the nymph sink quickly. Wire or tinsel wound over the body gives it a segmented appearance, like that of a real insect.

Nymph Lures

Fisblng With Nymphs

During the early stages of a hatch, the water often teems with immature insects struggling toward the surface and attempting to unfold their wings. If you look carefully, you may see trout or other fish swirling and flashing just beneath the surface, but not breaking water. In this situation, no other lure works as well as a nymph.

In some waters, immature insects comprise over 80 percent of the trouts' diet. Although nymphs work especially well for trout, they will also catch small-mouth and largemouth bass and most types of pan-fish. For trout, use nymphs in sizes 1/0 to l8; for bass, sizes 1/0 to 6; and for panfish, sizes 6 to l2.

To determine what type of nymph to use, look for natural forms in the water, on bottom, in aquatic vegetation, and on bushes or rocks along the shore. If you catch a fish, examine the stomach contents. Then select the nymph that most closely matches the prevalent insect.

Understanding how a real insect moves through the water will help you decide how to fish the imitation. Each type moves in a distinct manner. Mayfly nymphs, for example, are fair swimmers, but cannot swim against a current. In most cases, you should drift a mayfly imitation with the cunent or retrieve it across stream, but not upstream.

Stonefly nymphs and caddisfly larvae move about by crawling along the bottom. You can best imitate

How to Make and Use a Cork Strike Indicator

How to Make and Use a Cork Strike Indicator

Made Artificial Bait
MAKE a cork strike indicator by using a hot needle to burn a hole in a cork cylinder l/4 inch long by l/4 inch in diameter. Paint the cork and peg it onto the leader butt with a toothpick. Use a floating fly line.

these insects by letting the current roll a weighted nymph along the bottom.

Caddisfly pupae are excellent swimmers. Prior to hatching, they swim rapidly to the surface and, with practically no hesitation, emerge into the air. Pupal imitations work well when fished with a fast-rising, bottom-to-surface retrieve. You can also use an emerger pattern dressed with floatant, fishing it in the surface film.

Dragonfly and damselfly nymphs use a jetpropulsion system to dart along bottom in search of tiny food organisms. You can best imitate their movement with a retrieve consisting of l- to 2-inch jerks followed by pauses.

Although nymphs are often retrieved with twitches, you can fish any nymph with a drag-free drift. In most streams, fish are accustomed to feeding on immature insects that become dislodged from the bottom and drift with the current.

All nymphs can be fished in still water, including lakes, ponds, and pools in streams. Retrieve with gentle twitches or long, slow pulls. In cold water, a nymph resting motionless on bottom will often catch sluggish trout.

Nymphs are more difficult to use than most other types of flies. The major problem is detecting strikes. Often, the only indication of a strike is a slight pause or a subtle twitch. Another problem is keeping the nyTpb down when trying to fish near bottom in cunent. Avoid drag to keep yom line and fly from lifting.

The lines and leaders used with nymphs are the same as those used with wet flies (page l40). Always fish emerger patterns with a floating line.

Floating Nymphs
WATCH the cork closely; set the hook at any twitch or hesitation. Other strike indicators include a piece of red yarn tied to the leader butt, a red plastic sleeve slipped over the butt, or a tab of red adhesive foam.

MIMIC an immature insect rising to the surface to trigger strikes from trout or salmon. Position yourself upstream of a probable lie. Cast across stream so your nyTpb will sink nearly to the bottom before it reaches the lie. Then raise your rod tip to make the nymph swim toward the surface, simulating a rising insect.

Tips for Fishing With Nymphs

CHECK for common nymphs by stirring up the bottom, then holding a fine-mesh net downstream; sifting through sediment with a screen; sorting through leaves, sticks or other bottom debris; or turning over rocks and logs.

DRESS all but the last few inches of your leader with silicone paste line dressing when fish. are feeding on emerging insects just below the surface. This keeps your nymph slightly under the surface film.

Fish Recipes

Fish Recipes

This is a great collection of delicious fish and shell fish recipes that you will love.

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  • Jolanda Capon
    Why do some dragonflies have short tails?
    8 years ago
  • anya young
    What flies imitate a dragonfly nymph?
    8 years ago
  • phillipp
    What size of nymphs to use?
    8 years ago
  • kisanet
    How to make strike indicator?
    7 years ago
  • crystal
    What does a nymph lure look like?
    5 years ago

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