Double Nymph Rigging

One of the deadliest techniques for fly anglers during non-hatch periods is the multiple nymph rig. What this entails is fishing two or more nymphs simultaneously.

There are several ways to rig the nymph setup which we will cover shortly.

Reasons to Use It

Some benefits of a multiple fly rigs:

  • Allows the angler to fish two very different bugs such as an attractor and a realistic nymph at the same time
  • The angler can cover more of the water column without having to constantly adjust the setup.
  • Great way to locate fish quickly

Besides the above benefits, fishing multiple nymphs may be the easiest way to get beginners into fish. Although the setups can be difficult to cast for some, a few basic rules will greatly eliminate the propensity of the flies to foul.

Casting a Double Rig

Foremost is casting – throwing wide, open loops will keep the flies from wrapping around each other. Keeping false casts to a minimum (preferably a single false cast) can virtually eliminate fouling problems. Also, using a water haul on the backcast is the best way to get first time anglers delivering their flies without constantly battling tangles.

Simple Leader System

Often overlooked, leaders that more experienced anglers may easily cast can be completely unmanagable for beginners. Short, extremely stiff butted leaders will make casting much easier and will not effect the drift of the bugs.

Using 5-6 ft. leaders tapered to 3X, then adding short sections of 3X,4X or 5X tippets can really make the difference for first time anglers. A overly heavy tippet will spook far less fish than a tangled matted snarl of a leader being ripped across the water.


The multiple nymph setup can be difficult to tie at first, but once mastered it only takes a minute or less to set up two nymphs.

Practice the setup before you get on the water.

Know the knots you are going to use & be able to tie them in under 30 seconds. Nothing is more frustrating than re-rigging with cold wet hands and battling a knot that is easily mastered with some effort. Depending on the way you decide to set up your flies you may only need to know a single knot (improved clinch).

The Set Up

There are several ways to set up for fishing more than one nymph at a time.

Bend of Point Fly Hook to Dropper Hook

Probably the most common and easiest setup consists of tying a piece of tippet material to the bend of a point fly and attaching a dropper fly to this tippet it. This setup is not only easy to build, but it tend to foul far less than other setups.

See illustration below:

dropper rig set up

Tag End of Point Fly Tippet to Dropper

Another setup consists of leaving the tag end of your tippet as a dropper tippet and attaching a fly to this tag end. This setup is nice when you want to fish two flies at the same depth, although you can vary the depth by varying the length of the tag.

See illustration below:

leaving the tag end of your tippet as a dropper tippet

A downfall of this setup is that it tends to foul easily and if you break off one of the flies, re-rigging can entail retying the entire tippet section of the leader.

Tippet From Eye of Point Fly to Dropper

Finally, some anglers prefer to tie a length of tippet to the eye of their point fly and attach the dropper fly. This setup tends to foul horribly – especially when casting weighted flies.

Although a very broad overview of two fly rigs, the above tips should get you well on your way to fishing multiple flies.  Good luck!

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