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NIRVANA Vintage Click Pawl Reels on a Sweet Deal
NIRVANA Vintage Click Pawl Reels on a Sweet Deal

What is Czech Nymphing

The Fundamentals of Fly Fishing French, European or Czech Nymphing Techniques

What a Czech nymphing is: The Czech nymphing craze owes its origin to competition fly fishing and over time it has emerged as a popular and effective fishing method in Europe. Some more traditional fly fishermen have their individual preferences and admire the splendor and heritage of classic dry fly fishing and therefore might look down upon the Czech style of nymph-fishing. Nevertheless, this fishing method has proved to be highly effective and indispensable for today’s fly fisherman who focuses more on the catch count. The French, European or Czech fly fishing technique is destined to provide more fish to hand for those who have mastered it, especially when fishing pressured waters.


European, French or Czech fly fishing is an angling technique that uses heavy Czech nymphs. This method is based on short, repetitive casts, dead drifts and a deeper fly presentation. The leader hangs under the tip of the fly rod held by the fisherman in his outstretched arm, while the fly is guided through the run. That’s why it’s often called high stick nymphing or contact nymphing. The typical fly rig includes three nymph flies of different weights. The method uses Czech nymphs, known as Bobes. The nymphs are tied on gammarus hooks and are made to imitate fresh water shrimps or caseless larvae of sedge flies.

Fish to Target: Grayling, brown and rainbow trout respond well to a Czech nymph. But the method can be applied to roach, chub, barbell, and dace.
Fly Patterns: There is no method to determine the most effective fly pattern. Commonly, three different fly patterns with different color combinations are put on the leader and the effectiveness of each pattern is tested. A natural pattern is used as the first dropper while the second dropper needs to have a wilder color combination. Larger fly patterns typically attract larger fish. Imitative patterns attract brown trout while natural patterns and colorful flies are perfect choices for grayling and rainbow trout.

History of Czech Nymphing

Czech fly fishing is a Euro nymphing technique that includes Polish, French, and Spanish modifications as well. Czech nymphing originated in Poland during the 1984 international fly fishing competition. The Polish anglers fished “short” due to the unavailability of fly fishing lines so they relied on thick nylon monofilament. They used flies that resembled Sedges Hydropsyche and Rhyacophila. Czech competitors learned the technique used by the local anglers very quickly and applied it during the next year’s World Championship held on the river San. With this new technique, Poland secured the first position while the Czechs finished right behind. It was in 1986 that Slavoj Svoboda won the world championship and brought home the first gold medal for the Czech team, employing the newly-named Czech nymphing technique.

French Nymphing Techniques

Czech fly fishing is primarily a short-distance fishing technique that involves catching fish almost under the tip of the rod without making use of the fly fishing line. After “casting” upstream, you should allow the flies to sink to the bottom. Use the tip of the fishing rod to follow the fly’s movement downstream, making sure to keep your flies at the current’s pace. The flies should be of appropriate weights so that they can sink to the desired depth relative to the current. Overweight flies are undesirable because it will become difficult to lead them naturally through the run. The success of this method depends on maintaining permanent contact with the flies at all times. Subtle upstream or peripheral movement of the leader may indicate a strike. You might also feel a tap or hesitation in your drift. It’s time to set the hook in an upward motion. If nothing nothing comes tight to your hook set, the good news is you can quickly cast your short leader and flies back into the run for another drift. As you become better skilled to casting shorter distances and managing your drifts better, your catch rate will greatly increase. Focus more on fishing the faster and deeper water, making each cast and drift count. Leader length relates to the waters depth and your fly rod’s length. If you’re just getting started, fish a shorter leader for better line control and more natural drifts. Maintaining contact with heavier flies is easy, but the lighter ones exhibit natural movements in the water and require a bit more practice.

Leland’s Latest Czech Nymphing Gear

Czech Nymphing 101 DVD

Sage ESN 10ft 4wt

Czech Nymph, 3rd Edition Hardcover
Czech Nymphing Master Class DVD

Loop Opti Peak 11ft 4wt

Dynamic Nymphing Techniques, Hardcover

Although you can employ the Czech, Euro or French nymphing technique with a common 9 foot 5 weight fly rod, a longer rod is better suited for optimal drift control. Today, most dedicated Euro nymph fly rods are 10 to 11 feet in length. Recently, many fishermen have started to use lighter rods, like 2, 3, and 4 weights in longer lengths. European, Czech or French nymphing involves frequent casting and requires you to keep your arm outstretched for long durations and hence, using lighter rods will be the most convenient option for you. Although there are some dedicated Czech, French or European nymphing leaders available today, most Czech nymphers use a shorter (7.5 foot) tapered leader with varying tippet ratings. Just remember the fly rod length should always be greater than the leader length. For added strike detection, some Czech nymphers us a very small indicator or coloring on the leader. These colored leader sections magnify any subtle movements (possibly a strike) of the leader during a drift. European nymph-fishing is effective year round. However, if you fish streams with high waters during Spring runoff, make sure to give Czech nymphing a try. We’re pretty sure you’ll be impressed with the fish-catching results.