Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Missouri River Trip May 2009

Ryan Gabert and I just made another pilgrimage to the Missouri. Not the Missouri of trout fishing fame found in Montana, but a stretch much further downstream. We fish the Missouri in Central South Dakota. The Mighty 'Mo is dammed 4 times within South Dakota. Lake Sharpe near Pierre is our favorite for Smallmouth Bass.

We fished Lake Sharpe this past Sunday and Monday. Directly below the dam at Pierre was slow. After flogging the water for most of Sunday near Pierre, we headed downstream to West Bend Recreation Area.

Monday was a different day. Carp were rising everywhere and they were eager to take a dry fly. We found a few nice smallmouth to boot. Here are a few photos:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Don't Forget the May 16th Open House Event

Be sure to stop by this Saturday for our big Simms Dakota Angler Tom Andersen Presents Open House Extravaganza. There will be some promotions, prizes, food, stories, and fun. Starts at 10:00 am.


Thursday, May 7, 2009


I finally got out and fished a bit last Sunday. This is Rapid Creek by Placerville Church Camp, and boy was it flying down the canyon. I hooked on fish. A good one that stole my Red Fox Squirrel nymph. Other than that, I found the water to be to quick to fish. That being said, I love to see the water. After so many years of low flows, I get giddy when I see the stream up like this.

Over the course of this week the Bureau of Reclamation has been dropping the flows a bit every day this week. We should see the stretch by Placerville in great fishing shape in a week or so. The best fishing on Rapid Creek is within a mile of the dam.

I haven't hit up any other streams lately, but I hear that parts of Spearfish Creek are starting to fish well. Castle Creek has also been productive for some.

Without a doubt this will be a great year for fishing. The middle of May and early June should really be the kickoff for stream fishing. Get ready for the caddis hatches, they should be great.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Czech Nymphing- dan dan daaah!

How many times have you heard this-"What in the heck is this foreign nymphing technique I keep hearing about? Why is these european fly flickers trying to ruin our nymph fishing fun."

I know I have heard it plenty, but don't be scared of this nymph fishing technique. It is definitely from a place far far away, but its spread can't be stopped. Embrace this technique and you will find nymph fishing fast water easy, successful, and enjoyable.

What is it? Czech Nymphing is a technique born out of competition fishing. Its ability to deliver nymphs to the bottom rapidly is key to its success. Since mulitple flies are used the fish are quickly given 3 flies to choose from. The combination of rapid sink rates and multiple weighted nymphs is terribly effective.

How do you set it up? A czech nymph rig is made up of 6-7' of tippet material (4x-5x) followed by two 24" sections of the same tippet material. The two shorter sections are attached with double surgeons knots. On each knot leave a 4-5" tag on the down streamside of the knot. You will end up with a leader that is roughy 9' long and that has two dropper tags. Attach a fly to each tag and one fly at the end of the leader. Please refer to the diagram in the last post- it will make this leader set up make much more sense than the text above.

Flies used in czech nymphing should be slender but well weighted. The core idea of Czech nymphing is to cut through the water column quickly without resistance from thick leader material and bulky fly patterns. The thin 4-5x tippet material and the slender flies fit this bill.

Traditional Czech style nymphs are tied on curved grub or scud hooks. They are normally tied in sizes 8-16. European patterns tend to be larger than those that I find effective on my home water, so I tend to fish patterns tied on size 12-14 hooks. I will use the occaisional #6-10 fly when imitiating cranefly larvae, large cased caddis larvae, or large stonefly nymphs. Most of the patterns I use imitate free swimming caddis larvae (hydropsyche and rhycophila) and scuds.

Other options for czech nymph patterns are heavy nymphs such as Copper Johns. Use any nymph you like, as long as it is slender and has significant sinking potential.

Of the three patterns I tend to put the heaviest fly in the middle, a traditional czech nymph on the top dropper tag, and I alternate smaller patterns on the end of the leader. A typical setup would include the following flies starting with the top most dropper tag and working down to the end of the leader- hydropsche larvae, cased caddis larvae, and a weighted mayfly nymph pattern.

I will try and post some of these patterns in picture form soon.

Now, how do you fish it. This method works best in faster flowing water that is 1-4' deep. Fish a short line just upstream from where you are standing. You shouldn't have much more than 6-10' of line out. Keep the rod tip high and follow the rig as it moves downstream. Keep the rod tip moving slightly ahead of the current. Don't pull your flies downstream, but keep slack out of the drift. When the tip of the fly line is 1-2' downstream of your position lift the rig up and transition into a roll cast to your targeted lie. Due to the short amount of line, and the tension in the set up, strikes are telegraphed instantly by the tightening of the line or by the tug of the fish.

It is a very clean way to nymph- no split shot or indicators required!

This is just a short primer. There are several resources on this important technique. Here are two I recommend.

-Oliver Edward's remarkable DVD- "Essential Skills- Czech Nymphing"

-Czech Nymph and Other Related Methods by Karel Krivanec et al.

Please contact me if you wish to order these two resources. I am also available to do private lessons on Czech Nymphing. My first lesson was with Oliver Edwards on Spearfish Creek. It was an amazing couple of days. I will never forget how it changed the way I look at fishing fast water.

And now....your comments please.