One of the most important aspects of becoming a competent angler is getting adept at setting up your rig for the particular water and tactic you’re fishing. This takes a basic understanding or reading water and getting comfortable with whatever technique best suits the situation. The next step is configuring your rig. There really are an infinite number of ways to do this. None are 100% right or wrong. The predominant techniques are nymphing, dry fly, dry/dropper, and streamers. Nymphing offers perhaps the most variation. From one river to the next, the configuration can alter dramatically. What might be the perfect nymph rig for the Crooked River won’t work very well on the Lower Deschutes and probably not at all on the Fall. The basic concepts and terminology will apply. So refer to the “Nymph Rig Terminology” drawing to get familiar.
The main ingredients:
Leader: The most commonly used leaders are nylon 9’ in either 4,5 or 6X. I prefer the shorter 7.5’ for nymphing the Crooked. Fluorocarbon leaders are unnecessary on most rivers, but ideal for subsurface presentations on clear lakes.
Tippet: Eventually you will want to have both nylon and fluorocarbon in everything from 3-6X, just nylon in both 2X and 7X. As you read on and then begin properly experimenting with rigs, you’ll see why.
Split shot: The assortment kits are great. They are easy to use and keep many options in one place. The more you have to dig around for anything in your kit, the less likely you are to make the necessary changes.
Indicators: Whether you prefer cork or bubble, you will need different sizes. Don’t use anything bigger than you need to float the rig, as long as you can see it. The medium-size Airlock is perfect for the Crooked River. The large-size is what you’ll need on the Lower D.
Flies: This is where things can get complicated! All I can really say is that we are here to help. Use us! While not always spot on about every fishery in Central Oregon, we do have a lot of experience and we have seen the patterns of hatches based on flows, weather and other variables over the years. So our guesses are at least educated! There’s a reason we’re called a “Fly Shop” as opposed to a “Rod Shop”.
Reading water and committing to a rig is your primary task. As for our local rivers, we have a perfect combination of to experiment with nymph rigs. Between the Crooked, the Deschutes and the Fall we have all the variety you could want.