Rich Osthoff Books on Nymphing   8 comments

I recently bought two books by Rich Osthoff, who lives in Mauston, Wisconsin. The books focus on long-line nymphing for trout when there’s “No Hatch to Match”, a common occurrence in our Driftless Region trout streams.


Active Nymphing by Rich Osthoff

Active Nymphing by Rich Osthoff


I’ll report back with insights learned from these books. And hopefully I’ll have plenty more stories of success catching fish as well.


Nymph Rigging - From "Active Nymphing" by Rich Osthoff

Nymph Rigging - From "Active Nymphing" by Rich Osthoff





8 responses to “Rich Osthoff Books on Nymphing

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  1. I read almost half of the other title last night! Really interesting and insightful. I think I learned alot about the mistakes I make with assumptions I hold about fishing on the fly.

    One thing is very clear; fly-fishing is way, way, way, more versatile than spin-fishing. If you show up with just a spinning rod you’ve got real limitations on how you can approach a piece of water.

    I do think I’ve been misguided in my unwillingness to use some split shot where appropriate. The complexity of the rigging can be off-putting and cumbersome but is very likely the only surefire way to reach the fish is by careful consideration of what you are presenting.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. One of the other tricks is to use a weighted lead fly instead of shot, something like a weighted scud or bead head hares ear. You can either tie the trailing fly directly to the bend of the hook (usually leaving the barb on the lead fly) or I’ve also seen diagrams tying the trailing fly’s tippet to the tippet or hook eye of the lead fly as well.

    I’ve also been learning that while nymphing is great for the bigger pools, the fish will also grab them in the fast water too.

    Looking forward to the book report 🙂

    • Tim, It seems there are a gazzillion ways to catch a fish. I suppose my methods will always be evolving. My goal is to figure out a baseline method for a situation and then adjust one way or another if things aren’t working. I’ve so far just been flinging decorated hooks here and there and have gotten lucky, I think. A real sportsman has a “method”, you know?

  3. I know exactly what you mean. Took me two years to zero in on about five flies I will use all the time and rigging up one way for deeper water, and a different way for shallower water. This at least offered the chances of success if the fish were willing to play.

    This season I’m taking some shaky and tentative steps to improve my odds when those two methods aren’t working as well. Hard to break the habit of just blaming the fish when you aren’t catching anything!

  4. This is an excellent conversation you guys are having.

    I appreciate Tim’s comments. A few times last year I thought we had it figured out. I now think I’ve only just begun to really consider what you can do.

    I definitely think we should get some woolly buggers, in a 3 or 4 different sizes and weights, tied in the near future. I’d like to hit some tailwaters early in the season and try and bring a truly big fish to hand. If we could find some holding tailwater, temp in the 50’s and rising, I’ll bet we could see what a really big brown feels like.

    And, of course, catching on dries has simply gotta happen sooner or later. I saw plenty of isolated fish rising last weekend.

  5. I just picked this book up too. It’s a great companion to Borger’s ‘Nymphing’. I’ll be out practicing casting with some shot (read – detangling my knotted-up line from the cedars). Great blog!

    • Matt,
      Thanks for checking out the blog. I went out yesterday while the wind was blowing at 20+ MPH and actually had some success casting (but not catching). I had a few tangles, but it went better than I expected.
      It is certainly more pleasant casting when there’s no wind, but fishing is fishing, and it beats just about all other exploits, even on a windy day.
      What I really appreciate about Osthoff’s writing is that his home waters are in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin, so I’m fishing the creeks he’s fishing, and the techniques he’s using apply one-for-one with what I’m fishing.
      I’ll check out Borger’s book too. Thanks for the tip.


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