1. Do not worry about making long casts. Long casts are advantageous in certain situations but if you can make quality, accurate casts of 30 feet or less you will catch a lot of fish. The shorter the cast the more accurate and effective it will be.
2. Proficiency with a couple of knots- clinch and blood- will serve you well. I use the clinch to attach flies and the blood to connect leader material.
3. Have a simple, basic selection of nymphs, dries and streamers to accommodate the different scenarios that you are most likely to encounter. You don’t need 5 BWO patterns, only one in a few sizes.
4. After a fish is hooked apply maximum, steady pressure when the fish isn’t running. The longer you play a fish the more likely it is you will lose the fish and the increased stress and toxins generated in the fish during an unnecessarily prolonged fight will increase the chance of the fish dying.
5. Clean and dress your fly line regularly, and the line will consistently perform at its peak level.
6. I wear waist high ( “pants”) waders 90% of the time. I have been wearing the Redington Sonic-Pros for two years with no problems.
7. Most nymph fishing is done with an indicator and nymphs fished dead drift. Mix in some twitches during the drift to give the nymphs a little life and let your indicator and flies rise up at the end of the drift, especially when using an emerger or pupa. This also water loads everything so that you don’t have to false cast when you make your next cast.
8. I use fluorocarbon tippet for all of my nymph and streamer fishing. Fluoro is more abrasion resistant and less visible in the water than regular mono. Fluoro does sink and is not ideal for most dry fly fishing, but for technical fishing with small dry flies on flat water I use 6x fluoro and have no problem with the fly sinking.
9. From late spring through the fall I usually replace the indicator with a hopper when nymph fishing. Terrestrial insects like hoppers start hatching in late spring and continue into the fall. Some end up in the water and trout will be on the lookout for them. I tie a 2-3 foot piece of 4x tippet off the hook bend of the hopper and tie on a Copper John. From the bend of the CJ I tie on another nymph – usually an emerger or pupa – on 10-12 inches of 5x. The hopper-copper-dropper set up is easier to cast than a standard indicator, splitshot and nymph rig and is more versatile, allowing you to fish short pockets and shallower water more effectively.
10. Have fun! Don’t take yourself or fly fishing too seriously.