Piscari Fly

Effective Dry-Dropper Fly Fishing: A Dynamic Tandem for Success

Effective Dry-dropper fly fishing is a versatile and highly effective technique for catching brown trout in rivers. It combines the allure of dry flies with the subtle temptation of a nymph hanging below. This approach allows anglers to target fish feeding at different depths, maximizing their chances of enticing strikes. Here we will explore the ideal water types for dry-dropper fishing, the significance of the distance between the dry fly and nymph, and the importance of achieving a free drift to penetrate the nymph effectively.

Water Types Suited for Dry-Dropper Fishing:

Dry-dropper fishing excels in a variety of water types, particularly those with diverse insect populations and fish actively feeding near the surface and also deeper in the water columns. Ideally, I am looking for riffles, runs, and pocket water, as well as seams and edges of currents. These areas provide a mix of oxygen-rich water and abundant food sources, attracting fish to the surface and beneath. By effectively covering these water types with a dry-dropper rig, you can present your flies precisely to entice strikes from fish in different feeding zones.

Distance between Dry Fly and Nymph:

The distance between the dry fly and the nymph is a crucial factor in dry-dropper fishing. During a session I would change the depth of my nymph several times as the depth of the water changes. However typically, a leader length from the dry fly to the nymph of 1.5 to 2 times the water depth is a good starting point. This setup allows for a natural presentation and provides enough separation between the dry fly and the nymph, enabling both flies to work effectively. Adjust the distance based on the depth of the water and the feeding behavior of the fish. Experimentation is key to finding the optimal distance for each fishing situation. A good tip is to always go long with the distance between the two flies as it is much easier to shorten up the distance between the dry and nymph than to extend it.

Achieving a Free Drift for Effective Penetration:

One of the critical aspects of dry-dropper fishing is achieving a free drift, particularly for the nymph. A free drift occurs when the dry fly and the nymph drifts naturally with the current, without any tension or drag. This drag-free presentation allows the nymph to sink to the desired depth, imitate the behavior of natural nymphs, and entice strikes from fish. To achieve a free drift, focus on mending the line and adjusting the angle of the cast and speed of the cast to minimize any interference with the nymph’s and dry flies’ movement down the required swim. Once your dry fly starts to drag the nymph will rise up off the riverbed and can become ineffective. I find that fishing upstream at 12 o’clock 1, 2 and 3 o’clock are the best angles for the cast.

A selection of very successful dry fly’s ideal for Dry Dropper fishing

Observing Strikes and Adjusting Techniques:

When fishing with a dry-dropper rig, it’s essential to remain vigilant and observant. Pay close attention to the behavior of the dry fly, as it serves as an indicator for strikes on the nymph. Subtle movements, hesitation, or sudden submergence of the dry fly can signal a fish taking the nymph below. Be prepared to set the hook promptly when you detect any signs of a strike. If you are getting a lot of indication on the dry fly with no hook ups, then consider adjusting your rig by using a more buoyant dry fly or altering the distance between the dry and the nymph to find the most effective combination. Being able to see the dry fly is crucial so play around with your dry’s and in particular the colour of the posts you use, as one colour may stand out more than other in certain types of water.

The Set up.  

I use a 9 foot or 10-foot 3 weight rod mostly.

For me I like to keep the set up simple, from a tapered leader around 9 feet long ill add on some .12 diameter tippet. I use around 18 inches of this and create a dropper at the end of this piece with the same size tippet. From here its 8 inches or so to a perfection loop and then from the loop I use generally .08 to my nymph at the required depth. It’s very important you muclin up the leader and tippet to the dry fly and make sure you mud up the tippet between the dry and the nymph.

Dry-dropper fly fishing is a dynamic technique that offers the best of both worlds: the excitement of surface strikes on dry flies and the effectiveness of nymphs beneath the surface. By understanding the water types suited for this approach, mastering the distance between the dry fly and nymph, and achieving a free drift, you can unlock its full potential. Embrace the versatility of the dry-dropper rig and its ability to cover multiple feeding zones, giving you a greater chance of success on the water.

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the fishing.

Make sure and check out our YouTube channel for some videos on dry dropper set ups and fishing.