Hawkes Bay Euro Nymphing

Here in Hawkes Bay we are very lucky to have many rivers and lakes to hunt brown and rainbow trout, and to also use many different methods to catch them. Whether you are into spin fishing, dry flies, drifting naturals, swinging a lure or euro nymphing, there is plenty of water and opportunities to test your skills using your desired method.

A personal favourite of mine more recently is euro nymphing, tight line nymphing, or kiwi nymphing, call it what you like but basically (if you are unfamiliar with the term) you are in direct contact with your flies with no fly line floating on the surface.

Hayden with a stunning brown trout
Hayden with a stunning brown trout

This particular style of fishing appealed to me as it is a very active style of fishing and you are very tuned in to what is happening at the business end of your tippet. It’s definitely not a method that suits all water types or weather, but deep guts, ledges, faster water with structures and on slower seams, this method can be highly productive.

Hawkes bay has some very well-suited waterways for this type of fishing and at times produces some spectacular fish in great numbers, if they are present. One of the many differences I have noticed between this style and using my indicator rig is the ‘take’. When a trout eats your fly you can often feel the bite, which only heightens your anticipation on each drift or casting to a sighted fish.

On a recent trip up a local stream, a friend and I set off, him with a standard indicator rig and me with my euro set up. In the first pool we decided to fish, my mate was up first and fished through it quite thoroughly, but no luck. He said ’come on then’ put your rig through it as he was interested to see how it all worked. On the second drift through and ‘bang’ I was hooked up to a lovely rainbow. So in the next pool I stood holding my mate’s indicator rig, gave him a few quick pointers on how to use the euro nymphing set-up and 3 or 4 casts later he was also hooked up to a nice rainbow trout.

Plenty of good water for Euro Nymphing in Hawkes Bay
Plenty of good rainbows in Hawkes bay

He couldn’t believe the feeling of the ‘bite’ and hook up, and had a smile from ear to ear. We ended up having a really good day with some lovely fish to the net, and my mate had learned a new method of fishing that he is now really keen to explore further. I have found euro nymphing to be my preferred method to fish my local waters in Hawkes Bay early and late in the season when there is a bit more water in the systems and the fish are closer to the bottom. Then through the summer period when they are mid water and surface feeding I will switch back to my standard floating line set up with a dry and/or a dropper.

If you have wondered about giving euro nymphing ago, my advice would be to find someone that fishes this way and to go out with them for a day. There is a bit to learn, so good information regarding setup, casting and getting your drifts correct is key to success and enjoying your day up the river.


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