Fly Fishing Tips: When to Let Flies Swing

Kevin enjoying the comfortable weather and a nice brown trout from Spruce Creek last week. Nice job!

“When should I let the flies swing?” is a question that I’m often asked while nymphing during guide trips.

A fly that is swinging would be considered “drag” under most circumstances during a drift with a nymph rig. There are circumstances that fish will only eat flies that are drifting”drag free,” and therefore an angler would be wasting time swinging flies.

However, there are other times that swinging flies can be very productive. During these circumstances, letting the flies swing at the end of a drift while nymphing can produce a strike.

My simple answer to the question, “When Should I Let the Flies Swing,” is whenever it works. Meaning, let the flies swing and see what happens.

If it works and you catch a fish, keep letting the flies swing. If it doesn’t work, then time is better utilized focusing on “drag free” drifts that are more productive.

Like a lot of things in fly fishing, swinging flies is productive in the right situation. So, what circumstances could swinging flies be productive?

Two good examples would be during a hatch or when fishing streamers. Letting nymphs, emergers, or soft hackles swing can be very rewarding if fish are eating bugs that are hatching. Swinging is one of the many different methods of streamer fishing. Of course, there are also other times swinging flies could catch fish.

So, what’s the bottom line? I usually let flies swing during a hatch, when fishing streamers, or whenever it works. If “the swing” is not producing, I will spend more time focusing on methods that are catching fish. The next time you are on the water consider when to let the flies swing.

Rain last week has the water conditions in great shape, and all of our streams are fishing very well.

Talk to Joel if it’s time for you to get in on the fishing this fall.

One Response
  1. Thanks, Kyle Winey just read your article. I really like the Swing Method. I am a beginner and of course, will use Swing Method.

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