Getting Schooled!

This past Saturday Kelly, Jason and myself (Dave) signed up for a Tight Line Nymphing Clinic put on by Matt “Gilligan” Koles of Gilligan’s Guide Service and Doug Ouellette of Calvada Fly Fishing.

Tight line nymphing is sometimes referred to as “Czech or European” style nymphing. But as we were taught in our class, this style of fly fishing was happening in Northern California way before it was happening it Europe. In fact, the Europeans learned how to fish this style by reading old fly fishing booked written by authors here in the U.S.  So going forward I’ll just be referring to this style of fishing as nypmphing, plain and simple.

The clinic started off with Matt and Doug getting us acquainted with the ins and outs of what a standard rod and reel setup would be for this style of nymphing. As they explained any 9ft 5wt rod will do the trick, but a 10 to 10.5ft, 4-5wt rod is preferred.

Next came our leader construction and a brief history on where and how this style of nymphing started. The leader construction was very eye opening. For our group, this was a whole new way to set up your rig. This wasn’t your standard tapered leader with a loop to loop connection. Between the nail knots, surgeons knots, clinch knots, mono, flouro, swivels and tippet rings we were all having a great time building our leaders and learning something new.

After our leaders were built, fly selection began and seriously, I’m not kissing ass here but not only are our two teachers of this clinic  guides on the Truckee River and beyond, they are both awesome fly tiers with multiple flies available commercially though Solitude Fly Company and Umpqua Feather Merchants.

Most everyone went with a two fly setup with Gil’s G6 Caddis as a dropper and Doug O’s Stone Daddy as the point fly. These two flies gave us a well rounded meal option for what would hopefully be some hungry trout once we got on the water.




Once everyone was rigged up we took a quick walk over to the Truckee River to get some hands on experience. Doug was the first in the water to show us the do’s and don’t’s of nymphing and hook sets. Matt and Doug also explain how to read the water and where trout would normally be found in these summer time conditions.


You could have timed it with a stop watch, but no more than 3 minutes in the water Doug’s line went tight and he had a fish on. It was a nice wild Truckee River rainbow trout and as Doug released the fish back into the water the group was eager to get on the water to hone our newly learned nymphing skills.


The 9 of us spread out up and down the river. Doug and Matt both spent time with each angler individually helping us sight the water, perfect our drifts and really learn the use your sense of touch while fly fishing rather than how we usually wait for our indicator to sink before reacting to a grab.


Over the next few hours several of us got into some fish including myself. After wading my way through some nice pocket water I picked up a healthy wild bow.


As the clinic wrapped up the group hung around and chatted about the days adventures and what we all agreed was a very informative lesson on a new way to fish.

Here is a video of one of the clinics put on by Matt and Doug that was masterfully filmed and edited by our friend Donald Zimmerman who runs a great blog called Catch, Snap & Release that you should check out on a regular basis.

The Truckee River a truly a world class trophy trout river, and it does not like to give up it’s bounty easily. So this is just one more weapon in the arsenal. But I can tell you, it’s one that I’m going to be utilizing a lot. This clinic made me look at fishing the river in a whole new light and if you get a chance you should look into signing up for one of their future clinics. There are links in this post and on our Blogroll page to both Gilligan’s and Doug’s websites if you are interested.

Tight Lines and Strong Knots!


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