Lance Egan: ‘Low and Slow Near the Riverbed’

Team USA member Lance Egan has written a great article in the Fly Fisherman. Link is here.

He writes that it’s important to fish nymphs “low and slow” where the fish tend to hang out, near the bottom.

A few years ago, I went down the Euro-Nymphing Rabbit Hole after reading a bunch about currents. I didn’t know, for example, that currents can be very complex, with the current at the bottom at times going in a different direction. Here’s a photo from Lance’s article.

I also didn’t realize that the pace of currents differs all along the water column. It’s faster on the surface and is much slower at the bottom, where viscous water hits the riverbed, creating friction. It’s one reason I avoid strike indicators except for when I’m fishing slow and deep pools in the winter.

I remember a particular day at the Farmington permanent C&R area. I was Euro-nymphing some usually productive runs. No takes. It was later in the season, and so, the fish had seen many flies by that point.

I don’t know what prompted it, but, I decided that my drifts were too fast, and I consciously tried to slow them down. The water’s surface was moving at a good clip, but, I angled my sighter to make sure I wasn’t leading the flies much at all.

I caught quite a few fish right away. Same flies, same run. I just slowed it all down to better match the current’s pace along the riverbed. It was quite a revelation.

Lance’s article is full of good info. I think you’ll find it interesting.

5 thoughts on “Lance Egan: ‘Low and Slow Near the Riverbed’

  1. I’ve noticed that there’s a few really extreme examples of the current going the opposite direction on the bottom on the Farmington. There’s one particular slick where it is so strong on the bottom that it looks and feels like you get a take when the anchor fly gets into the lowest 5 inches of the seem. Most striking, in that spot, I watched a fish and sight cast to it for ten minutes thinking it I was presenting flies to its head until it turned up and took my top fly, which was actually drifting past and above him from tail to head! It was in that bottom reverse current facing what t me looked like downstream. I had been presenting nymphs and streamers to his tail for ten minutes.

  2. Thanks for sharing, this is a great article. I find myself doubting my fly selection when hits don’t come as expected in fishy looking water, but the constant reminder that presentation typically matters more than fly selection is very important. A half dozen patterns presented improperly is no better than one.
    The Modern Nymphing video is a fantastic resource because it appeals to the visual learner in a way that reading an article simply cannot. I purchased a download a long time ago and the last time I took a friend fishing who was new to euro nymphing, I had him watch the video on my phone while we drove to the river. I believe he picked up the basics much more quickly as a result.

Leave a Reply