Step Up Your Suspension Nymphing

Step Up Your Suspension Nymphing Game


Suspension Nymphing (using a floating strike indicator) is a great way to catch fish and beats all other techniques in certain water types.  It is my go to technique if I need to fish deep fast water, fish at distance, and also when fish are eating at and below the surface simultaneously. Here are a few things I have learned to help improve your day on the water.

Pick the right indicator – I generally use two types, a bobber style and a dry fly.  For heavier flies I go with the bobber and generally use a dry fly for all other circumstances.  Always be aware of the buoyancy of your indicator.  I do not want my indicator to sink constantly, but I also don’t want it so buoyant that it affects strike detection.

Consider a longer leader when fishing big water- If your skill level allows, go longer to spook less fish.  Even your leader will cast a shadow that can scare away fish on a sunny day, fly line is worse.

Always add floatant to your leader down to within a foot of your indicator- If you have an issue with moving your indicator when mending this will help tremendously keeping the leader up on top of the water reducing resistance.  I like Loon Payette paste as it does not liquify in our warmer months or solidify too badly when it is cold. 

Never move your indicator up and down your leader- Add tippet to the end of your leader one size larger than the tippet you are using on your flies for the space that you will likely be moving the indicator to adjust depth.  Your leader is most likely tapered, and if you move up the leader with your indicatory the larger diameter material will sink much slower and keep you out of the strike zone more.

Mend proactively and aggressively- Once you know the direction you need to mend on a drift make your move quickly once the fly lands, and mend big enough to keep from having to duplicate your efforts.  A proactive and aggressive mend will cut down on the need for a second or third large mend and make for a smoother drag free drift.

Keep a manageable level of slack- Too little slack and you drag your flies, too much and you delay your hook set and miss fish.

Position yourself properly – If you are fishing across multiple current speeds consider wading or positioning yourself to be able to fish more directly upstream.   This helps to avoid having your fly line in several different current speeds.


Fish On – Big T