Early Season Tactics

Written by Kevin Shone, Guideline Ambassador Ireland

Irish spring mornings at the start of the trout season are typically cold with a slight touch of frost. With no prospect of any moving fish my thoughts turn towards the Euro nymph, the best option for getting your flies down quickly to where the fish are sitting waiting to pick off nymphs. I’ll be ready to switch to the dries at the first sign of surface activity, but early mornings and cold days I’ll be carrying two outfits setup. One with the Euro nymph and one dry dropper ensuring I’m ready to switch outfits quickly as I approach new water. 

Euro Nymph Method


This model is a perfect all-rounder for small streams to big rivers. It is capable of handling light tippets and strong fish with ease. The length and weight of the rod help anglers to control flies for long periods of time without tiring. The lads that designed these LPs rods really  have ticked all the boxes. From the positioning of the rings to stop the sag in the leader/line so you are constantly in contact with the flies you can feel every knock and bite of the trout very rarely missing a take. The down locking reel seat is perfect for shifting the weight of the reel further back to ensure the required balance when fishing this method with a high arm position reducing fatigue during a long session. The perfect rod to fish both the Euro style and the Klink and Dink methods.

The Leader

I prefer to keep early season nymph rigs nice and simple. Often for those new to the technique of Euro Nymph it’s the leader setup that many find confusing. My recipe is simple:

The leader for euro nymphing consists of 12ft tapered leader attached to the end of that is 12-18 inches of 2 or 3 tone sighted material.  With a tippet ring attached to the end.      

The tippet material is then attached to that it’s usually 1 1/2 times the depth of the water so I would be aiming to fish water about 3ft deep so the length of the fluorocarbon so it would be about 7 foot long. Fishing 2 nymphs the point fly being the heavier of the 2 and the dropper would be tied in 18” up from point fly  on a piece of tippet roughly 3-4” long.

I use fluorocarbon for my nymph fishing as it sinks faster than mono, resulting in less slack so I don’t end up with a big bow between the nymphs and my  rod tip, due to its inherent stiffness. Giving me a better bite detection.

I would use 5x for my nymphing if water is dirty or it’s a very strong run  and I’m fishing with very big and heavy nymphs. But as the water gets clearer and water levels drop throughout the season I would use 6X  and sometimes 7x tippet depending on the size of the fish I’m fishing for also.


I carry a range of weights and sizes to cope with different depths and flows. On my home waters my goto early season starting point would be a Hares ear #18  dressed on a partridge wide gape  jig hook with a 3.5mm silver bead on the dropper. Point fly early season is a Duracell nymph on the with a 4mm nickel tungsten bead. At times the point fly is purely sacrificial just to get down in deep fast runs and act as an attractor that’s why iIlike my point flies to have a bit of movement  i.e the cdc collar or rubber legs even add a  bit of marabou. Also make sure you have plenty of reserves in the box. Fishing flies close to the river bed means there will be some casualties. 

The method:

The main thing with the euro style nymphing is not to have any fly line on the water that’s why I’m using a long leader as fly line will create drag.

You should have your indicator above the water so you can see it and move the nymphs with the speed of the water.

Always have constant contact with the flies and no slack line. No bows in the leader. 

Keep the rod high to keep the tension and keep the rod moving  along at a constant pace until your flies end up immediately below you and start again  and fish every inch of that run. Starting in close and working your way out into the stream.  You will need water with a bit of pace to it. If it gets to slow to carry the nymphs then that’s dry dropper water.

Klink and Dink method

Later in the day as temperatures increase and fish are starting to become more active I will often switch to dry dropper/ klink & dink on the 993 LPs or the 904 Fario Tactical.


Fario NT8 Half Wells Grip #4 9 feet

The ultimate fishing- and casting experience, and now with a more classic Half Wells handle in the two lighter models. Fario NT8’s smooth action and the fact that they are made of Silica Nano Matrix give you uncompromised sensitivity, line control and blank strength in all aspects of your fishing. 25-year original owner warranty. Accurate, super light and responsive and great tippet protection for confidence when fishing light tippets. 


I run the #3 WF Fario Tactical or #4 depending on the rod choice. 

This line presents nymphs and dries with total control and accuracy at short to medium distances.  

This line’s construction and head length in the #2 & #3  ( 9,3 m / 30,5 ft ) is highly recommended for beginners as you load the rod properly with a relatively short line outside the rod tip. 

Furthermore it easily generates good line speed and contact between the rod and line, something that can be challenging for beginners at fly casting.


Set up for this method is simply a Power Strike 12ft tapered leader plus 24 inches of tippet to the Klinkhammer, then 14 to 20 inches of tippet to the nymph. First choice generally for me is a French nymph is a  sizes #16 #18 #20.

I prefer to go off the bend of the hook rather than fish on a dropper for the length of tippet that then carries the nymph. For me it’s a cleaner way of fishing this method. Often fishing the dry on regular dropper can cause the fly to wrap around the leader. Certainly from my perspective I have plenty of confidence in hooking a trout should it rise to the dry. 


Casting distance 3-5 rod lengths. Depth of water looking to target knee to chest height with a good pace to the river. Pace I’m looking for is somewhere between a gentle to swift walking pace. When I pick water to fish I like to think of the water like a chess board and fish it carefully square by square. Looking for subtle seams that funnel the food to the fish. The biggest mistake I see people making with this method is they cast too far and don’t take enough care to eliminate drag. Cast short, search the water methodically and ensure you eliminate drag. These are the keys to success. 

I hope you enjoyed this blog please don’t hesitate to contact me on any questions you might have on set up or guideline gear I’m using you can contact me on k.shone09@yahoo.co.uk or @k.shone09 on instagram.

Written by Kevin Shone, Guideline Ambassador Ireland

Leave a Reply