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boynabubble

Do legs on a nymph really make a difference?

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Hello,

I've been pondering this question for some time. Do legs on nymphs really make a difference in terms of catching fish? I'm sure there will be different opinions on this. I'm leaning towards legs not having a significant affect on fishability since I've caught many trout that I would consider selective, on patterns such as PTs and Micro-mays long after the legs (and even tails for that matter) have fallen off. I'd like to hear your opinions on this one. Thanks.

 

BTW- if this topic has already come up in a previous post, please be so kind as to direct me to it.

 

Best regards,

Cody

 

www.flyfishsd.com

 

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I sort of agree with you in that some of my beat up flies are the better producers, having said that I guess there are crawlers, clingers and swimmers where legs may arguably be important. Having watched nymphs swimming , their legs are not visible during this activity. I think adding legs may be a confidence thing, in that if it looks well tied you may feel that it will be a better producer, in any event if you fish with confidence you will be a better fisherman

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I actually think legs do make a difference, because the legs add some wiggle to the fly.

 

Also in some situations legs may not be better. I guess it just depends on what the fish like.

 

My $0.02. Smalltownfisherman

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My thoughts lead me to experiment with the same thing a few years ago. The conclusion; the bigger the fly, the more important legs become. Then it begs the question "why?". Is it the movement? The siloutte? Color contrasts? I haven't gotten that one figured out yet, and it may well be that it's a combination of all of the above. Or, it could be that we all think too much about it and it's really just a few picky fish that throw the data off. I do know that I'm a more confident caster when I have a fly on that I 'believe in' because it's a good representation of the real bug. What it comes down to in the end is personal choice. But, did that one fish not bite it because it had no legs . . . . . . . . . . . :bugeyes:

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My thoughts lead me to experiment with the same thing a few years ago. The conclusion; the bigger the fly, the more important legs become. Then it begs the question "why?". Is it the movement? The siloutte? Color contrasts? I haven't gotten that one figured out yet, and it may well be that it's a combination of all of the above. Or, it could be that we all think too much about it and it's really just a few picky fish that throw the data off. I do know that I'm a more confident caster when I have a fly on that I 'believe in' because it's a good representation of the real bug. What it comes down to in the end is personal choice. But, did that one fish not bite it because it had no legs . . . . . . . . . . . :bugeyes:

 

:thumbsup: That's really interesting and a good point. In the Black Hills of SD we fish mostly smaller bugs (#22-#16), and we have a few streams sections with some very picky fish. A couple of my favorite nymph patterns for the area are the skinny nelson and wd40. Both of these flies usually don't incorporate legs and IMO work as well or better than those that do. Of course we are fishing these in very small sizes and like you said, legs probably aren't as important when the bugs are so small. I guess part of the original post should have mentioned something about size.

 

It makes perfect sense that the larger the nymph, the more important legs become. I would venture to guess that at larger sizes, legs are a more prominent feature and something that trout key in on as part of their search pattern.

 

From what I've observed, most nymphs, with the exception of clingers, tuck their legs under their body when they become dislodged. So the question here is 'should we be tying nymphs with the legs under the thorax instead of out to the sides?'. I mean, what if legs are actually hurting the number of fish we catch because of an unrealistic profile? Just a thought. :dunno:

 

Thanks for the great response, I think you've made some very interesting points.

 

 

 

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Depends, too, on what we think qualifies as legs on a pattern. Does the brushed out dubbing on a scruffy nymph just add volume to the thorax, or does it also resemble legs? This might be leg-like appendages on 16-20 hare’s ears, caddis pupae, or the collar on soft-hackle patterns. The same may hold true for biots on smaller stonefly nymphs.

 

I do not add rubber legs to small nymphs, but have become a fan of them on larger stonefly nymphs and buggers. And I am certainly not shy about hanging some rubber on size 4-8 Stimulators when hoppers are likely to be on the water. The leggy Stimulators in yellow, tan, and orange have tricked trout in Spearfish and Rapid Creek for several summers.

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The new "trick" is CDC. I know a few guides that are tying nymphs with CDC thorax and letting the ends hang long. Everyone of them swears it makes a big difference in the number of fish caught.

 

I have a few sets tied both ways to test this year. All use CDC, but some have legs and others are trimmed off. We'll see.

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The new "trick" is CDC. I know a few guides that are tying nymphs with CDC thorax and letting the ends hang long.

 

So how do you tie such a thorax? Are you tying the feather and wrapping like a hackle or dubbing it on or something else?

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I tie Stones, Caddis, and Mays in size 18 to 10 with #14 being by far my most popular size. (I really only cary like 3 #10 in each one). That being said I have not put legs on a nymph in 8 years. I really dont think it makes a difference in my neck of the woods, However I am catching like 95% stocked fish.

 

Far more important in my book are Presentation, size, and color in that order. If you are using close to the same size as the natural, in close to the same color as the natural and you present it to the fish in a natural way it will eat. If you get these 3 things right I really dont think legs will make a difference one way or another. Just my .02

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Ok, here I go spouting off again. I categorize legs into the area of buggy motion, along with scruffier bugs. The fibers that add movement to the body of the nymph. If legs are stiff, I feel they are not as helpful. Most very small nymphs do not use enough leg motion to really add to their fishable factor. However, on the Provo River, high traffic, very selective fish, a PT nymph with a starling soft hackle out fishes one with Phesant tail legs at least 2 to 1. On Henry's Fork a stonefly nymph with black rubber legs outfishes one wth stiff legs. Do the fish really view these as legs or as body movement and life within? We may never know for sure. But I do add as much bugginess as the law allows.

 

Cheers, Futzer.

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