Is Euro-nymphing Fly-fishing?: Heard something interesting today, from a reliable source. Yesterday, a conservation officer asked two anglers on Connecticut’s Salmon River fly-fishing only area to leave. Why? They were euro-nymphing. Got you a tad puzzled? Okay, let me fill you in further.
In Connecticut, fly-fishing is defined as: “Angling with the use of a fly reel, fly rod, fly line, leader and a fly or flies….” The catch here, no pun intended, is the use of a “fly line”. Euro-nymphing doesn’t require a fly line on the water or even on the reel for that matter. That’s right, the whole rig could be mono-filament.
While this is the first time I’ve learned of a problem, I guess one might have seen it coming. Is Euro-nymphing fly fishing? Can you fly-fishing without casting a fly line? And if so, how does one separate it from spin-fishing?
Ready for more? Check this out. Here’s Pennsylvania’s fly-fishing definition. ” Fishing must be done with tackle limited to fly rods, fly reels and fly line with a maximum of 18 feet in leader material…” Notice anything? Not only is Euro-nymphing done regularly without a fly line; the leaders can be in excess of 20 feet. Ahhh…the dilemma builds.
To learn more, I placed a call to Bill Hyatt – the Chief of Connecticut’s Bureau of Natural Resources. Besides being in charge of the state fisheries, Bill is a fly-fisherman, and I learned likes to euro-nymph. Perfect. So naturally he is interested in this matter. During our conversation he informed me that presently he has a bill in front of the legislature to change the regulatory definition of fly-fishing to include Tenkara -which doesn’t require a fly reel. Perhaps the Bureau will add more language to the bill to include euro-nymphing.
Update: I ended up researching this business in depth. No punt intended. I called just about every state and spoke with the fishing departments to ask how euro-nymphing fit into their regulations. It was a a very interesting journey, believe me. I published the results as “Fly-Fishing Outlaws”, in Fly Fisherman, Gear Guide issue, Oct 2017.