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June Setup of the Month - Golden Fly Shop

June Setup of the Month

June has arrived and raging water along with it.  This year’s snowpack was very high, meaning runoff will have all of our local rivers and creeks blown out for the next few weeks.  Runoff can often intimidate some people, but it can actually be a great time to fish if you are using the right techniques! 

 When applied correctly, tightline techniques can be deadly.  This method involves using heavily weighted flies without an indicator. Instead of relying on visual cues, you rely on the sensitivity of the tight line to detect strikes.  This can drastically improve your hookup rates when compared to using a strike indicator.  The Euro style is also very effective during high water since most fishing is done right beneath your rod tip.  Mastering Euro nymphing requires understanding how to read the water and presenting your nymphs in a drag-free manner. By honing your tightline nymphing skills, you'll be able to effectively target fish in challenging conditions and increase your catch rate. 

Tightline Tricks and Tips:

    1. Use proper rod pacing.  With tightline nymphing, you control the drift; meaning you can raise or lower your flies in the water column with a simple lift or drop of the rod tip.  It is important to find the right pace to move your rod tip downstream with your flies, so that they are ticking the bottom ever so slightly, but not snagging.  This takes practice but you will find that if you do find the right pacing, you will start to put your flies in the zone for longer during your drifts and in turn entice more fish to eat.

    2. Choose the right leader setup. A well-designed leader setup is crucial for euro nymphing. The leader should consist of a butt section, a sighter, and tippet.  The butt section should be stiffer (think thicker monofilament) to aid in turning over heavy nymphs  A sighter lets you stop guessing where your flies may be and instead know exactly where they are. By having a visual at a fixed point on your leader, you can observe the movements of your leader in relation to currents, and have a decent picture of what your flies are doing under water.  Usually your sighter should be anywhere from 4-8 feet from your flies. Opt for high-visibility material that contrasts with the water, making it easier to detect subtle movements.  For an easy way to attach sighter material to tippet, try using a tippet ring.

    3. Master the Art of Detecting Strikes: With tightline nymphing, detecting strikes is primarily based on subtle visual or tactile cues transmitted through the tight line. Train yourself to recognize these subtle signals; looking for any deviation or hesitation in the sighter, or slight twitches or pulls in the line. Be prepared to set the hook at the smallest indication of a strike, and develop a sensitive touch.  Pull the trigger more often than you think because as the famous saying goes; “better set than sorry!”


Jig Pearl Rib Perdigon - fire starter coloration #14: The perfect fly for catching the attention of fish in fast water.  Its bright orange body stands out well, and the weighted head and jig hook allow it to sink very fast.  We recommend fishing this fly as your point fly, using its weight to take the rest of your rig down fast! 

Juan’s Jig UV Kryptonite Caddis #14:  Caddisflies are one of our main summer bugs in Colorado, and this pattern will surely do you well when it comes to imitating them.  The jig style hook and heavy bead gets it down fast, and the soft hackle makes for great action especially in turbulent waters.  Fish this in tandem with the aforementioned fly, and success is in your future! 

Jig Sparkle Yummy #2:  Sometimes to catch a big fish you need to get down to the bottom and offer a hefty meal.  The sparkle yummy does just that, and is the perfect high water streamer pattern.  The jig and heavy weight, alongside its flashiness make it deadly when presented properly.  Fish this fly euro style with a tight line, and jig it along the bottom.  This action mimics a stunned baitfish, which is something larger fish will eat very often, especially in high water.  


Rod: Sage ESN 10’ 6” 3 weight:  The tight-line nymphing power tool. Every detail of the ESN series is specifically designed around tight-line nymphing, from the down-locking reel seat to the soft and highly sensitive tip. The 3wt 10 foot 6 inch rod gives you an extra bit of reach without compromising any sensitivity.  Especially during high water on our local creeks, this is the rod that will give you the greatest advantage.

Reel: Sage ESN Stealth 2-5:  Packed with a suite of specialty features, the ESN reel is designed specifically with the Euro-Nymph angler in mind and is fine tuned to the nuances of the application. Built around a super thin and large diameter arbor, this design now makes it easier to get fish on the reel quickly, minimizing the need to guide line onto the spool with your finger, all while providing consistent drag output. A unique balance system allows anglers to assemble and fine-tune a set of weights, so the ESN reel can perfectly balance any Euro Nymphing (or standard) rod. Add in a full frame that prevents fine leaders and lines from sneaking through the frame, and a sealed carbon drag system that provides a smooth uptake - leaving you with the ultimate fish-catching machine.

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