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Euro Nymphing in FAST Summertime Water

Euro Nymphing in FAST Summertime Water

Mastering Euro Nymphing in Fast-Flowing Rivers

Summertime. Most anglers favorite time of year to fish dry flies, but often we find ourselves out in the heat of the day and the fish aren't looking up. Much of time time they are deep down in the fastest riffles. A great way to dig fish out is euro nymphing with a few tweaks to really get the bug down. Hopper droppers and even indicator rigs can't slice through the wicked surface currents.  Mastering Euro nymphing in fast-flowing rivers requires a combination of specialized gear, strategic techniques, and a deep understanding of the water's behavior.

Why fast water? In the summer during periods of bright sun and hot days, the trout tend to bury themselves in fast water for a couple of reasons. Shelter from the sun is important, as the choppy water acts as a security blanket for the trout. More Oxygen! Warmer water has less dissolved O2 and therefore trout like to crowd into the fastest riffles. Be careful with the trout when the water gets into the upper 60's and give 'em a break. It's hard on trout to be caught and released. Play the fish quickly, release them immediately. 

Mastering the Techniques

Once you've assembled the right gear, it's time to dive into the techniques that will unlock the full potential of Euro nymphing in fast-flowing rivers.

Casting and Presentation

In fast water, precision and control are paramount as there is very little margin of error. It's fast! No time for mistakes. Employ short, accurate casts to maintain contact with your flies and minimize drag. The "water casting" technique, which utilizes the momentum of the current to load the rod, can be particularly effective when fishing with heavier nymphs and for newbs it helps minimize potential tangles.

Reading the Water

Successful Euro nymphing hinges on your ability to read the water and identify prime holding lies for trout. Focus your efforts on deep, fast chutes, pocket water, and areas with bubbly whitewater currents, where trout are likely to be actively feeding. Employ a grid pattern approach, systematically covering potential hotspots to ensure thorough coverage.

Maintaining Fly Depth and Control

After casting, immediately strip in line to establish direct contact with your flies. This prevents slack and ensures your flies maintain the desired depth. Employ the "high stick" method, holding the rod high to reduce drag and enhance your sensitivity to strikes. Tip up = flies down.

Animating the Nymph

When I'm fishing stonefly nymphs in fast water (like the fly pictured above) I love to move the fly by putting a little teeeennnny tiny but of extra tension on it and some agitation. 

While Euro nymphing relies on the natural drift of the flies, adding subtle movements can trigger strikes from opportunistic trout. Gently lift and drop the rod tip to impart a tantalizing motion, mimicking the natural behavior of a drifting nymph.I personally pay a lot of attention to the moment when fly "breaks free" from the bottom. You can't keep your fly down in fast water the entire time, so I try to move that "break point" around as trout tend to pick the fly up the instant it lifts.

Combining Swing and Animation

As your flies reach the end of the drift, allow them to swing slightly and add minimal rod movements to simulate the natural behavior of a nymph in the current. This can be an irresistible trigger for trout lying in wait, especially if you are standing above a slow area adjacent to the fast water you are targeting. When I'm using a streamer I often let it sink to the bottom as it enters the soft water and then inch it back up like a leech. Depends on the spot of course, but it works. 

Fast Water = Safety First

Don't get yourself in trouble. While Euro nymphing in fast water can be incredibly rewarding, it's essential to prioritize safety at all times. I personally pick up a few rods and gear each year that someone who took a swim while wading lost along the way. Always wear appropriate wading gear, including good boots (studs maybe?) and a secure wading belt if you have waders on. Wading staffs are literally a lifesaver, and through my years as a guide I see them as an angling advantage. Try never fish alone in fast water if you are really going for it, and always notify someone of your location. Be smart. 

Gearing Up for Success

Euro nymphing in fast water demands specific equipment that meets the demands of this precise technique. Rods will need to throw larger than average sized beadheads, so sticking with rods in the 3+ weight range with an emphasis on 4 weights if you are pitching big stonefly nymphs. I also like my rods to be 10'6" + 

The Beulah seems to handle the big flies better than any other rod I've personally tried. My T&T that I'm currently fishing is the 10'9" 2 weight which I love, but it doesn't move the heavier flies around nearly as well. For fast summer water I would prefer the 3 weight, or even the 4 weight with big stonefly nymphs. The tip needs to be able to not only cast the larger heavier flies, but move them over the bottom as well. 

Recommended Euro Nymphing Rods

  1. Beulah Platinum G2 // 10'8" 3 Weight Euro Nymphing RodBeulah Platinum G2
    • Description: With its light tip, reliable construction, and sensitive tip for strike detection, the Beulah Platinum G2 offers fine control and quick hook sets on light tippet. At 10'8", this rod provides the reach needed for Euro nymphing and assures a comfortable handling experience throughout a fishing day.
  2. Thomas & Thomas Contact II // Euro Nymph RodsThomas and Thomas Contact II
    • Description: The Thomas & Thomas Contact II is a premier rod in the Euro nymphing world. Featuring a lightweight, crisp action, and superb sensitivity, this rod enhances accuracy and strike detection. Its premium build includes high-quality carbon and fiberglass fibers, advanced guide spacing, and a comfortable grip for optimal performance.

Recommended Euro Nymph Flies

Transitioning to the right flies for fast water is more important than your rod for success in Euro nymphing. I often fish a single fly that is very fast sinking, and cuts through the fastest white water. I like Tungsten beads that are 3+ mm for my heavy fly, even 3.8mm for heavy white water type pockets. The Blue Diamond Perdigon (pictured above) has a big heavy bead. I love this fly for digging fish out of deep fast runs.

Here are some top picks:

  1. Croston's Euro Jig Minnow by Fulling MillEuro Jig Minnow

    • Description: Fish this streamer on a tight line with your Euro nymphing rod to dig out some absolute ham-sized trout. It works the bottom, skipping from rock to rock until a predatory trout snatches it up.
  2. Roza's Violet Tag // Tungsten Jighead Nymph by Fulling MillRoza's Violet Tag

    • Description: This versatile fly works well as an anchor fly or contact fly on a Euro nymphing rig. It's designed to sink quickly, making it perfect for fast water.
  3. Blue Diamond Perdigon // Tungsten Jighead Nymph by SolitudeBlue Diamond Perdigon

    • Description: This nymph sinks rapidly and is excellent as an anchor fly in larger sizes. Despite its unusual blue color, it reflects light effectively, making it highly attractive to trout in clear water.
  4. TJ Hooker Stonefly Nymph

TJ Hooker Stonefly Nymph // Tungsten Bead Jighead by Solitude

This fly fishes extremely well during stonefly hatches or off colored water. Our team likes the smaller patterns for an anchor fly when euro style nymphing as well, but the big boy is right at home under a Thingamabobber being tossed against the bank.  


Importance of Tippet in Fast-Flowing Rivers

A critical aspect of Euro nymphing in fast water is the use of strong, reliable tippet that can withstand the rigors of swift currents and sudden strikes from hard-fighting trout. For this, the RIO Fluoroflex STRONG Tippet in sizes 4X-5X is highly recommended. I don't run 6X in fast water although it does slice through the current better. I just snap off too many fish in fast rivers as is. I'll run 4X to my bigger anchor flies like small streamers, stonefly nymphs, or totally oversized #14 Perdigon nymphs. I'll run 5X to everything else.

RIO Fluoroflex STRONG Tippet

RIO Fluoroflex STRONG Tippet

  • Description: This tippet is an ultra-strong, 100% fluorocarbon material with exceptionally high tensile strength. It's very easy to tie knots in, with high knot strength and a smooth finish that ensures knots seat easily and tightly. The high break strength-to-diameter ratio makes this a fantastic fluorocarbon for the trout fly fisher. Offered in sizes 4X-5X, it provides the necessary strength and subtlety needed to handle fast water conditions.
  • Link: Purchase RIO Fluoroflex STRONG Tippet


Euro nymphing in fast-flowing rivers is a true test of skill and dedication, but the rewards are well worth the effort. By mastering the techniques outlined in this guide and equipping yourself with the right gear from Red's Fly Shop, you'll be well on your way to unlocking the full potential of this exciting and productive method.

Whether you're a seasoned angler or just starting your journey, Red's Fly Shop is your trusted partner for all your Euro nymphing needs. Our knowledgeable staff is always on hand to provide expert guidance and ensure you have the gear and techniques to tackle even the swiftest currents with confidence.

So, gear up, embrace the challenge, and prepare to experience the thrill of Euro nymphing in fast-flowing rivers. The adventure awaits!

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