Last week I wrote that I should start tying some flies with all the feathers I have. Well, I decided to go a little different direction. After all, it’s winter. We had our first snow last week and the highs this coming week are forecast for the low 30’s. When I got up this morning, the thermometer showed 12 degrees! If I decided to fish, do you think I would have better luck with dry flies or nymphs? I decided to tie up a few jig nymphs for Euro nymphing.
I’ve been thinking about this post for a few weeks. You might have seen some hints because I commented how dry fly fishing was coming to a close for the season. Sure, bugs will still hatch throughout the winter, but the hatches will be fewer and shorter in duration.
Euro-nymphing seems to be the rage these days. In fact, my friend Jeff Perin who owns The Fly Fisher’s Place in Sisters, OR wrote a great piece last week called Euro Nymphing Updates 2018.
So in preparation of winter fly fishing, I started tying a few flies on jig hooks. Why jig hooks, you might ask?
Jig hooks are designed to ride upside down. This is desirable because the flies are tied with tungsten bead heads to sink fast for fishing close to the bottom. The theory is by having the hook ride point up instead of down, you will have fewer snags on the river bottom where fish feed on nymphs.
Through some quick research, I found several new-to-me brand of hooks, including Hanak, Kona, Ahrex, Dohiku, and Firehole Sticks. And that’s on top of the ones I already knew about and use, namely Daiichi and Tiemco.
I decided to try a couple different variety of jig hooks. I had a package of Daiichi 60 degree heavy wire jig hooks (4647), and am trying the Kona Jig hook (BJH) as well. I was interested in how I liked to hooks to tie and fish.
Even though the Kona package states they are 1X strong, the Daiichi wire is stronger. The hook bend is much different as the Kona is designed like many of the competition-style barbless hooks. I’ll be interested to fish both of these hook styles and see if there if any difference to hook and play fish.
I found some fly patterns from Lance Egan and decided to tie them up on these jig hooks. Lance is a long-time member of the US Fly Fishing Team representing the US at the World Fly Fishing Championships. I think all of the teams fish with nymphs to increase their chance of catching the most fish. The teams from Europe created a style of fishing which many refer to as Euro nymphing. It’s a general term rather than what I used to hear as individual Czech, Polish, French, or Spanish styles of nymphing.
Gear used for Euro nymphing is much different than what I would use when nymph fishing. The gear includes:
- Fly rods – 2 to 4 weight rods, generally 10 to 11 feet long
- Fly lines – thin diameter, straight taper fly lines
- Leaders – long, fine leaders down to 7X
But back to my fly tying. So far, I’ve tied four nymphs – the Rainbow Warrior, Frenchie, Egan’s Thread Frenchie (a variant), and Egan’s Tungsten Surveyor.
These are just a few nymphs that I tied on jig hooks. Any nymph can be tied on this style of hook. Just remember when fishing Euro style, keep the bodies slim to help them reach the river bottom quickly.
If you would like to learn more about the Euro nymph style of fishing, be sure to read Jeff’s article. He is a wealth of knowledge and eager to share. In fact, do yourself a favor and give yourself a guided trip with him in 2019!
In the near future, I’ll share other popular flies used in Euro Nymphing, the Perdigon style of fly.
John, as always your flies look beautiful! I’ve been fishing the Euro method for about 3 years now and I’ve found it to be the most effective method of fishing nymphs when it can be used – which is a lot of the time! It’s also been the easiest method to teach beginners and get them into fish quickly. I’ve been tying some of these nymphs for the last few years and find that the competition style that you note here are probably the best for keeping fish hooked on a barbless hook. I’ve been using the Umpqua C450BL Jig hook in sizes 10 – 16 with excellent results. I know Jeff has some other competition style hooks in the shop that work equally as well. I’ve found that the style/color/shape of the fly is less important than getting it in their face and making it move at the correct speed for the current that the fly is in (Jeff talks about this in his post also). See you on the river!