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photo by Oscar Boatfieldphoto by Oscar Boatfield

You have probably heard of Euro-Nymphing by now; and if so, you have probably also heard people talking about French, Czech, and maybe even Polish nymphing. What’s the difference between all these different styles? Let me break it down for you.

photo by - Oscar Boatfield

Sometimes all they'll eat is a nymph. Give yourself the upper hand by learning this technique. It's not only proficient, but it's also fun!

Euro Nymphing is a blanket term that covers many different nymphing techniques, each technique developed in different countries in Europe. As far as I am concerned, all these blanket terms mean is that you are using an indicator that is made from a piece of nylon or braid which is in line with either your fly line or leader.

photo by - Oscar Boatfield

Diagram of Euro-Nymphing setup

The most common Euro-Nymphing technique used today is a combination of the French and Czech fishing techniques, and these techniques are going to be the main focus of this post. Below is my take on the history and development of these techniques.

photo by - Oscar Boatfield

Diagram of a French leader

French Nymphing:

French Nymphing is a technique initially developed in the Jura Valley in France. The rivers in the area are fairly deep, very clear, and hold huge trout, trout which are notoriously difficult to catch. To catch these elusive fish, anglers found that they had to use very long leaders and small nymphs fished at a significant distance, so they did not spook the fish and could present the fly in the most drag-free way possible. They did not use indicators and would watch the fish for signs of a take. This technique proved incredibly effective. Word soon made its way to the French National Fishing Team who took this long leader nymphing technique, added an inline indicator, and French Nymphing was born. French Nymphing, as we know it today, uses long tapered leaders, a nylon indicator, long rods, and one, two or sometimes three nymphs. This method allows you to fish effectively at both short and long-range achieving a more drag-free result. This technique is typically fished upstream.

photo by - Oscar Boatfield

Diagram of a Czech nymphing leader

Czech Nymphing/Polish Nymphing:

The Czech and Polish styles of nymphing are very similar and very effective. These techniques are typically focused on fishing at short range with heavy nymphs, through fast water. Typically the rods used are heavier than in French nymphing, perhaps a 4wt rather than a 2wt, and the fly line will be out of the rod tip with a short indicator between the fly line and the leader. A team of two to four heavy flies is fished on this setup, and typically fished at the pace of the current or pulled through slightly faster than the current. This is known as leading the flies, bumping them along the bottom of the river. This style of nymphing works effectively fished both up and downstream. 

photo by - Oscar Boatfield

The right gear is essential for successful Euro-Nymphing.

How have these techniques combined?

As with most advancements in the sport, the techniques have been refined and combined through competition. With the French and Czech teams being the two most successful teams in the world, they naturally have been keeping a close eye on one another. This has allowed the two equally good methods to evolve into a devastatingly effective one. This method works at short and long-range, fished upstream or downstream, with heavy or light nymphs, and can even be adapted to fishing streamers, dry-dropper, or dry fly techniques. Euro-Nymphing is undoubtedly the most versatile river fly fishing technique in existence right now. 

My current setup gives me the best of both worlds. It consists of a Euro-nymphing line, a 9ft tapered leader, and a colored mono-indicator. I find this setup works the best for me. It is my hope that you try out the different Euro-Nymphing techniques and find the one that's right for you, and the rivers you fish. And, if you need any help, we're here to help!