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Discussing fishing flies, trout flies, salmon flies, fly fishing gear and equipment, Idaho and Montana fishing rivers, NW rivers, fly tying and fly fishing trips. Over 50 years experience in fly fishing, best flies, fly tying, fly fishing techniques, fish stories, directions to rivers and lakes and great fly fishing tall tales with special communications from area guides.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dead Drift - Tight Line Lift

Dead Drift – Tight Line Lift is a simple technique, which most fly fishers do instinctually, but can be improved, to help increase their hook-ups. Described here by YellowStoneFly of the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog, this nymphing technique is guaranteed to increase your catch. If you are an Idaho Fly Fishing nympher, try this and reap the rewards. I actually refined the Tight Line Lift on one of my many trips to the White and Norfork rivers in northern Arkansas when I lived in Missouri. There, this is the most effective technique for catching trout.

CLICK ON THE DIAGRAMS TO ENLARGE AND SEE DETAIL.

Remember, when nyphing, always use plenty of weight to get your fly down and a leader length at least 1½  longer than the depth at which you want to fish. Your strike indicator can help with the depth. This should put you at or near the bottom which is where the fish are and you want your nymph to be. You should always begin with a “dead” drift (no movement of your fly), by mending upstream so your fly will look to float naturally. Mend as often as you need to until you have used up all of your slack line. SEE DIAGRAM ABOVE.

Once you fly reaches the end of the drift, your line will naturally tighten. When this begins to happen, your line will swing downstream and your fly will begin a swing toward the surface in an arc. Allow the line to stay tight and swing directly below you. SEE DIAGRAM LEFT. 



Now your fly is just below the surface and directly downstream. Let it hang there for at least 10 seconds. Now the lift--simply lift your rod tip a few inches. This brings the fly closer to the surface and the trout thinks it is emerging. Now allow the rod tip to drop back down for a few seconds more. Now lift again. If you are a purist, rather than lifting the rod, you can slowly strip a few inches and accomplish the same thing. I would encourage you though to avoid the temptation to recast every time your fly reaches the end of a drift and instead try a lift. You will be surprised how many times you will get a strike. SEE DIAGRAM TO THE RIGHT ABOVE. I do this several times at the end of each drift. 

PS-I have also found that even if I get a nibble, I can frequently leave the fly in place and lift again drawing another hit. I believe this is because the fish frequently hits “short” and does not get stung by the hook, so they are frequently ready to try again. 

Good luck. If you have questions or comments, please post a comment or email me directly.


          Moyie River - Idaho
          Kootenai River - Idaho


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