How to Start Euronymphing

Welcome Whieldon Fly Fishing and thank you for taking the time to read this article.

First off, lets clear the air a little bit, Euro nymphing is a very generic name for a style of fishing that can vary from place to place, however, we will be concentrating on how to tight line fish! Yes, they are the same thing.


European-style nymphing is growing in popularity on trout waters across the United States, and the United Kingdom and people are beginning to take notice.

 how to start euronymphing, whieldon fly fishing, fly fish

What you need to start out

Essentially what you are going to need as a basic setup is: Polarized sunglasses, Hat, Rod, Reel, fly line, leader, strike indicator tippet, and flies.

The Sunglasses

Why are polarized sunglasses so important for fly fishing? Well, polarized sunglasses work by eliminating the glare from the horizontal sun rays that bounce of reflective surfaces reducing water surface glare and sun in your eyes, which, in turn, improves your water visibility and improved FISH VISIBILITY. But they also help:

  1. Protect your eyes from harmful UV rays
  2. Offer extra shade on the face will keep you fresh on the water
  3. Protect you from swinging fly’s 


So now you know why polarized sunglasses are so important.  here are our top 5 pairs of polarized sunglasses for your fishing season find out more...

The Hat

One of the top 3 most important essentials for a fly fisherman.
Ernest Hemingway wore long-billed hats for good reason and here is why:

  1. Less Glare and sun in your eyes improve your water visibility
  2. The extended bill will help avoid getting your nose burnt
  3. Extra shade on the face will keep you fresh on the water
  4. The hat will offer a little extra protection from swinging flys

Now you know why hats are so important Click here

The Rod

You will need 10ft 2/3# rod I recommend a solid tip. However and depending on the water you are going to be fishing you might want to have alternative lengths, such as 11ft for bigger water or 9ft for smaller water. Soldarini makes a rod that is 9ft with and extendable extra 1ft piece that you can fit in in case of necessity.  If you are in the market there are a lot of fantastic rod makers, Rod Garage makes superb hand made in Italy euro nymphing rods to order. And when I mean superb I mean it!

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The Real

The next thing you are going to need is a 2/3# reel make sure you get a light one with a decent drag system the last thing you want is to hook on the fish of a lifetime and it shoots off and all your line turns into a birds nest. the smaller reel is not essential but recommended for weight issues. Read our article on how to choose a reel here

The Fly Line

Ok, here it is down to preference as you aren't ever going to take the fly line out except if you have a fish that has just ripped it out. So, in theory, you can put any line on the backing however you should be looking at a euro nymphing braided or mono core line. matching the rod. Soldarini and my personal favorite Scotland line are the ones you should look at.



So you are going to be fishing with a leader that is double your rod length meaning 10ft rod = a 20ft leader, a surfcasting tapered leader, or better yet a Tenkara leader are going to be the absolute perfection for this style fo fishing. Why? Well because you are casting and fishing directly with the leader, not the fly line you will need something that will cast those files as neatly and comfortable as possible, the surfcasting leader holds its own against the tenkara leader thanks to its development dor surfcasting being of a thick taper going from .50mm odd down to .22mm. Also, the Tenkara leader has been designed specifically to extend the flies out neatly without using a fly line so the choice is really a preferential one. 

Strike Indicator

Once you get down to .22mm on your leader (the end of the 20ft) you want to fit a fluorescent bit of multicolored line about 60cm worth. You can by ready-made sections of the bicolor strike indicator, you can use whatever know works for you, for me connecting leader to strike indicator a uni-to-uni knot, blood knot, or surgeons are all effective. at the end of the strike indicator (towards your flies), you will need a small ring or a perfection loop, Rapala knot to tie your tippet to.


The Tippet

the tippet setup depends on how many flies you want or are allowed to fish with, If you are fishing with 3 flies they should be 70cm apart with a 10cm tag, 3 are great to get deeper especially a couple with a perdigone fly that has very effective fast sinking. If you are fishing with two flies your dropper should be 70cm away from your tag, from your tag to the strike indicator should be 40cm. The tippet you use should be in accordance with state laws and what water you are fishing. I rarely fish with anything above .12mm fluorocarbon.  


The Flies

You can use all variety of nymphing flies, the important thing is that you are comfortable with them and trust them enough to be confident, you will be changing the hell out of them anyway so don't worry about them too much, what you really need to worry about is sink rate. If you are fishing in currents trout will often peck at anything that goes passed and doesn't really have the time to eye it up enough. The important thing is that you are ticking bottom and getting down to where the fish are. That's why you will see most modern euronymphers using perdigones. jig heads are the way to go when on the bottom.

jig head perdigones, whieldon fly fishing, euro nymphing explained,
European Nymphing: The Hot Fly Fishing Technique Explained



The Technique

Euro nymphing is a high-stick, close-quarters method. Designed for smaller rivers and streams. This fact, combined with the long leader, means you’ll virtually never fish with any fly line past the tip. You are fishing only with the leader.

The Cast

The fact that you are not using a fly line to load the rod might seem a challenge however This will be greatly helped by the fact you HAVE now bought a surfcasting leader or Tenkara leader and will find that will help you load the rod, it's clunky to get going but you will get used to it fast. Cast as you usually woulda nymph setup, however, you will find over time you will adapt to faster tighter line casts. One great tip: Don't bother doing massive casts to start there is no point the fish are under your feet go for those, then when you have more confidence you can overpower your cast and get it out there, but remember tensions and sensibility change. you should only attempt this once you have the basic Technique down and are catching fish comfortably. Why do I say this, because like I said before tensions will change and you will need to know those tensions before adapting to a new kind of tension?

The Drift

Once you have cast upstream you will want your flies to sink as fast as possible and you will want to hold your rod up high and extended slightly in front of your strike indicator and help lead the flies through all the pockets making your way downstream. the further you extend your cast, you will want more sag in the indicator, giving the flies more freedom to sink and head downstream naturally. Check out our post on the importance of ticking bottom here



Getting the Balance just right will greatly help your catch rate, if you are pulling the flies through the drift it will look unnatural. If you hold the line back it will look unnatural. both resulting in lost fish, however, if you have just the right amount of tension and to lead the flies where you want them to go and sink/float naturally you will also see the strike as the strike indicator will just stop dead for a second. you might even feel a pop of an aggressive trout attacking your fly. When the indicator stops set the hookup or downstream. If you use a solid tip, the fish will literally hook itself if you hold the rod firmly just a firm lift up a few centimeters with the wrist will do the job. 

Best Types of Water


A great reason to start euro nymphing is that it works well in almost all types of water. I use it in creeks and mountain streams as well as the bigger rivers. Check nymphing or fishing with a floating indicator works well in uniform currents where its rare to create a drag on the line, euro nymphing eliminates drag as it has nothing tethering the nymphs to the surface. Don't get me wrong, both techniques excel in the right hands. I'm just trying to explain when and where they both can be used effectively. 

For me, the best type of water is pocket water. you can run your flies in close quarters under rocks and wade/walk miles. its great fun. 


Improving Your Euro-Nymphing Game

You might feel overwhelmed to start but we got your back. don't give up, We are always here for more tips and I guarantee we are the best resource to get on the fish using a euro nymphing technique. We also have the ultimate course Lessons on Lake Como Italy with Edy Dona's 3 Times world champion at euro nymphing. Believe me, there is no better way to learn than with THE PRO! Check out our full package gift idea

Another way to improve your euro nymphing game is learning how to read the river I have compiled a quick read booklet to help you on the way of improving your water knowledge 

download the free ebook here

buy the hardcover version here

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