Euro nymphing for steelhead can often be the most effective way to catch steelhead in certain types of river conditions. In my area, I have been known as the Euro Nymphing expert because I started using this method for steelhead long before all other full-time river guides and in this article, I will discuss how I do it.
The reason euro nymphing for steelhead is so effective is that it allows you to get your flies down to the steelhead, it allows you to control your speed and get the most natural drift possible and it allows you to detect even the most subtle bites.
In this article, I will cover everything you need to know from the best rods, best reels, best lines, to the setup and how to use it effectively.
I will also cover my best euro nymphing flies for steelhead and my special fly combinations and setups for using weighted and non-weighted flies.
The article is part of our series on fly fishing for steelhead. To see all the best methods for fly fishing for steelhead go to my page Fly Fishing For Steelhead: Great Lakes Style.
What Makes Euro Nymphing For Steelhead So Effective
When I explain to clients what makes Euro nymphing for steelhead so effective the number one thing I tell them is speed control. Because we are not using any type of float we allow the flies to move at the speed of the bottom current and that gives you the most natural drift speed.
The other great thing about Euro nymphing is the ability to control your depth and to fish in shallow and deep water without any setup or indicator adjustments. You simply lift the tip up or lower the tip down to get the right depth.
Another great benefit of Euro nymphing for steelhead is that your strike detection is improved. If done right, you will never have slack in your presentation which means anything that touches your flies will be noticed on what we call the sighter. The sighter is the colored piece of line in the leader setup that makes all of this possible.
Do You Need A Euro Nymphing Line
Many companies are now selling fly lines specifically for the euro nymphing purpose which are called Euro Nymphing fly lines. Because of this, many anglers new to Euro nymphing will ask me if they need to have a Euro Nymphing fly line for steelhead and the answer is no.
You do not need a Euro Nymphing line to do Euro Nymphing for steelhead. You can use a special leader that is up to 40 feet long which allows you to Euro Nymph effective for steelhead. You can also use any standard fly fishing line with a standard fly fishing leader with a few adjustments.
Do You Need A Euro Nymphing Rod For Steelhead
There are many Euro nymphing rods on the market for trout, but there are few on the market for steelhead.
You do not need a Euro Nymphing rod to Euro Nymph for steelhead. A standard 9 foot or 10-foot rod will work, however, if you can find a good 11-foot single hand rod I highly recommend getting it.
The longer rods allow you to get longer casts, fish longer leaders with better line control, and the long rods also protect light tippets.
I will be updating this article soon with my recommended Euro nYmphing rods for steelhead.
Do You Need A Special Reel To Euro Nymph For Steelhead
All my euro nymphing reels for steelhead and for trout are normal standard reels. you do not need a special fly reel to do euro Nymphing for steelhead, however, I do recommend that you look at my page on the Best Fly Reels For Steelhead so that you get a good enough reel that can handle steelhead.
Do You Need Weighted Flies Or Special Euro Nymphs?
Some anglers shy away from euro nymphing because they have hundreds of non-weighted nymphs that they have tied or collected over the year and because they think that they can’t use these non-weighted flies when Euro Nymphing for steelhead.
The truth is that you can use both weighted and unweighted flies when euro nymphing as long as you know my leader setups for both. I can even use 2 non-weigted flies or I often use a combination of weighted and non-weighted flies on the same line with great success.
So the answer is no, you do not need weighted flies or special nymphs to euro nymph for steelhead.
I will discuss the leaders and my most effective flies below.
Euro Nymphing For Steelhead Leader
The leader that I use when euro nymphing for steelhead is similar to what I use when Euro Nymphing for trout. All I do is up-size everything and I use different flies the work well for steelhead.
I also tend to use longer casts so very little or no fly line is used for best results.
Some of my best steelhead flies like egg patterns are also not weighted so some minor leader adjustments are required to get and to keep the flies down and the leader tight.
Standard Euro Nymphing Leader For Steelhead Setu-up – COMING SOON
For all my leader variations see below.
Euro Nymphing Flies For Steelhead
Part of what makes euro nymphing for steelhead so unique and so effective is the use of weighted flies which allows for a semi-tight line which then aids in great strike detection. The weighted flies also allow you to get your flies into the strike zone quickly and then keep them there.
Some of my best steelhead flies can’t be weighted and therefore I will make minor adjustments on my leader or on my choice of flies and where I place those flies on the line.
Leader #1 – Weighted and Non-Weightfly combo leader / fly setup – COMING SOON
Leader # 2 – An all non-weighted flies leader set-up – COMING SOON
Best Euro Nymphs For Steelhead
I will be updating this soon because right now I’m in the middle of my busy fall steelhead guide season I hope to have this article completed on or before November 1st.
The Best Euro Nymphs For Steelhead Are:
- Tungsten Bead Head Prince Nymph
- The Polish Pheasant Tail Nymph is one of my favorites for euro nymphing for steelhead.
- Bead Head black Stonefly
- Rainbow Warrior fly works for steelhead
- Higas SOS fly has been good the last couple of year for steelhead
- Tungsten San Juan worm or Squirmy wormy
Got A Question Or Comment About Euro Nymphing For Steelhead
If you have a question, comment, or tip about Euro nymphing for steelhead let me know in the comments section below.