20 years experience

Euro Nymphing In Ontario

Catch More Trout And Steelhead!


What is Euro Nymphing?

Euro Nymphing In Ontario is the most productive nymphing style. I get asked all the time, what is Euro Nymphing or what is Modern Nymphing or why should I do it? Modern nymphing in my opinion is simply a combination of European and competition style nymphing methods that have been revised over and over again over many years. This evolution is what makes them as effective or more effective then regular nymphing methods for nymphing our local waters.

In many ways modern nymphing is different then the traditional old school nymphing methods of North American anglers and is far more effective for catching more and bigger trout.

Many years ago I was introduced to some competition nymphing methods that with time, practice and patience greatly increased my catch rates and opened my eyes to the many different methods of nymphing available to anglers. These methods aren’t hard, they’re just different.

These methods were also know to some as European Nymphing methods with the most common and publicized method known as Czech Nymphing. Although many anglers in Canada may still think euro nymphing is just Czech nymphing they couldn’t be more wrong.

A good euro nymphing angler will be well trained in Czech nymphing but should also know and understand Polish nymphing, and also the Spanish style nymphing and the French style of nymphing since these are the countries that are winning the vast majority of competitions at the world fly fishing championship competitions. All of these methods combined make up what I would call Modern Nymphing, but be warned, these styles keep evolving and improving thanks to innovative competition anglers looking for an advantage and there are tons of variations out there.

My Experience and Training – For the last 14 years I’ve been studying these methods, using them almost exclusively in my own personal fishing and also guiding. I am considered the best Euro Nymphing guide in Ontario and until the last year or two I was the only full time euro nymphing guide in Ontario.

I still continue improving through practice, teaching my clients and even training with some of the best anglers in the world. These top anglers that I train with include World champion fly angler David Arcay, and author, multi-medal wining champion and former coach of fly fishing team USA, George Daniel. I’ve also had the opportunity to fish side by side with a few of the Canadian FlyFishing Team members as well as competition anglers from France and the Czech Republic.

The methods I use and teach have been revised to not only be effective at catching lots of fish in our local rivers, but these techniques also catch more large large trout than any other fly fishing method I know of.

Most of the days my clients hook and land 3 to 7 brown trout over 20 inches are all using my style of Euro Nymphing. Hooking and catching that many big brown trout is nothing more then a dream come true for most anglers using traditional style nymphing methods and most anglers are blown away at how much better my style of Euro Nymphing is. Even the flies used for Euro nymphing are designed different, and designed to be better and catch more fish and they do for a number of reasons.

I recommend anglers interested in becoming much better at nymphing and especially anglers that truly want to catch up to 10 times as many trout seriously consider looking into these methods. Once learned they can and will produce more and bigger trout and steelhead.

Unfortunately these methods are rarely ever used on our local streams because they are so new to Canada and because there’s so much misinformation on the internet that most of the anglers I watch trying to learn this on their own are only slightly better then a traditional nymphing angler.

Check out this video for the basics of my Euro Nymphing tactics, taught by myself while guiding Colin from “The New Fly Fisher Show“.

Keep in mind this is only a basic and a small portion of what the true Euro nymphing style actually is.

Our Advanced nymphing Guided Lessons are far more in-depth and productive once mastered. We can cater to your skill levels and needs.

A big brown caught Euro Nymphing on the Credit River

Gear and equipment for Modern Nymphing

Rods: The trend in modern nymphing is to go with rods in the ten and eleven foot range. These longer rods give you better line control and better presentation as well as more reach. The longer rods with slightly softer tips also provide more cushion and tippet protection for both the hook sets and for fighting the fish on very light tippets. Check out the Echo Shadow 2 rods at www.driftoutfitters.com

Reels: Just about any fly reel with a drag should do but if you get good at this you may want a reel with a good drag because you will start catching more and bigger fish on very light tippets. Also, since we catch a lot of steelhead this way you will want a good reel and a good drag for steelhead.

The fly line: So when it comes to specialized nymphing lines be careful because many of the nymphing line out there are designed to chuck indicators and have a heavy front section that you do not want since the Euro style is indicator free and the heavy front section can cause problems. There are euro lines on the market which would be a better choice if you’re only going to use the line for euro nymphing. But, if you want a multi-purpose line just go with any standard trout line since euro nymphing requires very little casting of the line and very little line is out of the rod tip most of the time. There are some exceptions to that rule. With that said, Airflo makes one of the best euro lines on the market.

The sighter: What the hell is a sighter right? I hear that question all the time. A sighter is a piece of colored or multi colored line situated in the leader and it allows the angler to detect strikes, regulate speed and depth better. One of my favorite is the RIO Two Tone Indicator tippet and you can find this on line or in the shop at Drift Outfitters in Toronto

Leaders: The leader I use is customized for both the anglers skill level and the rivers I fish. I teach anglers how to tie their own during our Nymphing classes and on some guided trips. You can buy a pre-set up Euro leaders to. This is a link to a very similar setup that I have used before if you want to try to make your own or get a better understanding of how to set up you’re own rig. Just remember that even the best rig and best flies are useless if you don’t know how to fish them properly. A Euro leader set-up for those that want to make their own.

Tippets: The tippet you use should be as light as possible so that it cuts through the water better but also as only as heavy as needed so that you’re not breaking off to many fish or fighting them forever. For trout I usually use 5x or 6x (2lb or 3lb) and for steelhead I use 3x (8lb). Some competition anglers are using line as small as 7x or lighter.

Weights: The flies are weighted so there is no weights added to the line in most cases, however there are times when you should add some split shots or tungsten putty to be sure you are getting into the strike zone. I have specialized systems that allow me to run un weighted flies as small as size #24 while euro nymphing. You can learn how to do this well at one of the Advanced nymphing classes or on a guided trip with me.

The flies: We are allowed to use up to 3 flies in most Ontario rivers but some rivers are limited to only 1 fly because of special regulations. Therefor you need to make the necessary adjustments to your set up to make sure that you are fishing legally. The flies are generally weighted and very streamline so they sink fast and get into the strike zone easily. Once you fully understand this method of fly fishing you will realize the fly is a small part of the success and as long as the fly has certain features to it the flies are rarely very important, learning how to fish the fly is critical.

The Net: Lastly, I cant express enough the importance of having a net. I’ve watched to many guys blow the trout of a lifetime because for what ever reason they thought a net was not important. If you learn to euro nymph well, you will start catching more and bigger fish. A net not only makes it easier to land that trophy but it also keeps the fish safe and alive if you plan on releasing it. A recent study shows that fish beached on rocks or hard ground often flip and flop causing damage to their brains which kills them shortly after releasing them. Be a smart and responsible angler and get a damn net, it’s important and you wont be sorry you did. My net only costs about $29.00 at most local shops, its light, durable and inexpensive and well worth it.

Other resources for Modern style nymphing: One of the best books for suspension nymphing and for euro nymphing is Dynamic Nymphing and the best video I’ve seen for Euro Nymphing methods is called Modern Nymphing .

For rates and packages go to our River Guide Page


Don’t Pull It: I’ve seen a few articles written on how to euro-nymph that tell you to pull the line and fly slightly faster than the current. Clearly these are written by guys that have no clue!!

First, Euro-Nymphing is not one method. Euro-Nymphing can be and mean different things to different guys depending on what method they know. Be it French nymphing, Spanish nymphing, polish nymphing, Czech nymphing and then there are variations on top of variation of so called euro nymphing methods. Often what I teach is a combined version of many methods that I have found work best on my river and i may change to another variation for a specific day or under different river conditions, I even change the version I use and teach based on the skill level of my clients…. So telling someone to pull the fly is likely not good advise 90% of the time.

In fact, the only time I pull my fly is if it’s caught in a dead spot and wont move freely with the current. What most anglers fail to realize is that most of the time the surface current can be 50% + faster than the bottom current speed so if you pull your fly faster than the upper current you’re probably pulling your fly 3 to 5 times faster than the natural insects the fish are feeding on down where your fly is and the bigger wiser fish just won’t eat it.

Think about it. First, we use super light non-tapered tippet below the sighter for two main reasons and one of those reasons is that the smaller the diameter of the line doesn’t get pushed or pulled by the current giving us more natural speed and leaving the fly in the strike zone for longer, so why would we want to pull it? And think about this, these fish grew up in these rivers and have seen a million pieces of weed, bark, grass, debris, eggs, worms, and insects drift past them and it all moves past them at the same speed, a speed that looks natural to them. Now your fly comes zipping through the pool at 3 to 5 times to fast and it looks totally unnatural, do you really think they’re going to eat it, really?? The only fish that will eat it are the really small aggressive ones and maybe the really stupid stocked fish which I’m sure is all the guys writing these articles ever catch.

Conclusion: Don’t pull your fly and be careful what you read on the internet!