How much weight is enough?

This is a topic that is rarely written or talked about, but it should be! It really is fairly simple, and it can make the difference between a slow day and a great day.

Most of the time, trout are likely to be hanging out at the bottom of a stream or river. Probably the most important reason for this is because the bottom is where most of the food is, but it also offers safety from predators. Aquatic insects live amongst the rocks and gravel on the bottom, and on occasion they become dislodged and drift with the current while they struggle to get back to the safety of the rocks. One exception would be when there is a large enough hatch of insects that are emerging towards the surface; in this case, trout can be found suspended in the water column chasing emergers.

Whenever we are fishing a nymph rig, we want to make sure that our flies are getting down to the bottom. However, there is a fine line between having too much weight and not enough weight.

  • If we are using too much weight, our flies will get hung up in the rocks on nearly every drift.
  • If we don’t have enough weight, they will never get hung on the bottom, and never get down to where the fish are feeding.

So, if we have the correct amount of weight, we should be getting hung up on every 3-4 drifts, roughly speaking. It is very crucial to have the correct amount of weight when we are nymph fishing, or we might as well be playing golf!

Keep in mind, whenever you are casting to a new location, or if you move even just a few feet up or down stream, you may need to adjust your weights. The amount of weight you need depends on two main conditions; the depth of the water where you are drifting, and the speed of the current. The deeper the water, and the faster the current, the more weight you will need.

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