A Winter Fishing Lesson

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Published on: Nov. 2, 1998

Last revision: Nov. 2, 2010

slowly will be clipping your leader tip back. After using up inches of leader, it's time to add leader from one of the small spools. The easiest way to do this is with loops. Tie a loop in the end of your 9-foot leader, and tie a loop in an 18-inch piece of leader. Join them using the loops. The easiest way to tie the loops is to double over about 3 inches of the end of the leader. Simply tie an overhand knot, but go through the loop twice before cinching down the leader. This loop will be strong; the leader will break before the loop will give way.

Short Line Nymphing

One effective method of catching trout in swift water that is less than waist deep is called short line nymphing. Missourians often call it tight lining, because there is no slack in the leader, making it easier to set the hook when a fish takes the fly. This is an especially good way to catch fish in the parks because the trout are not likely to spook at your close approach. They didn't use this technique in A River Runs Through It because it's not elegant-but it does catch trout.

Select a spot with a strong current (white water or rapids, even) but with relatively shallow water. Knee-deep water is ideal. Tie on a wet fly (your choice) and pinch a split shot about 6 inches above it on the leader. Use a size "b" shot if the water is moderately swift; if it is a torrent, use a "bb" and keep open the possibility of adding a second shot of either size to keep your fly on the bottom in that rushing water.

Short line nymphing involves bumping your split shot along the bottom of the stream in swift water with your fly following just inches behind. You want to put just enough leader in the water to allow this to happen. If the water is 2-feet deep, you want 2 1/2 feet of leader in the water, with the rest stretched between your rod tip and the spot where the leader enters the water. You may have only 2 inches of fly line actually outside the tip top of the rod.

No casting is involved. Rather, you flip your line upstream, follow it downstream with your rod tip and then, at the end of the drift, flip it back upstream

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