How To – High Stick Nymph Fishing With An Indicator + Video

High sticking is very effective for fishing pocket water behind rocks and other obstacles where fish like to hang out. In this video I show you how I high stick an area with several different currents.

What is high sticking?

When you hold your rod tip high, it will keep most of your line off the water. Excess amounts of fly line on the water will lead to various currents trying to pull your line in different directions—this leads to bad drifts. If you can learn how to high stick, you will be able to significantly increase the amount of fish you catch.

How to High Stick

Holding your rod much higher than you normally would, will keep it from getting caught in the currents that are between you where you want to fish. As your fly begins floating downstream, you will have to follow it with your rod tip to keep it from dragging. Once your fly drifts downstream of you a bit, you’ll need to shake line out of your rod if you want to extend your drift farther. High sticking can be done in some situations without any type of indicator, and without any slack line. If you decide to try it without any indicator, you’ll have to pay close attention for the subtle bump of a fish eating your fly or by closely watching your line for any indication of a strike. I recommend using a small strike indicator, it is the most effective method for high sticking in almost all situations.

Since you will only have a minimum amount of line on the water, your hook sets should be solid and effortless. If you watched the video at the top of this page, you would have seen that some very small mends are required to make the perfect drifts. With practice, you will learn the perfect amount of line needed on the water for flawless execution.

Shown in the image below is a perfect example of a spot where high sticking would come in handy.

How to high stick while fly fishing for trout
Down stream of the rock in the image would be a great spot for high sticking. As you can see, holding your rod tip high will keep your line out of the fast water, and keep it in the zone where you expect there to be fish. In order to keep your fly floating properly and keeping where you want it, you will have to include small slack mends and standard mends. The current in pocket water like this will be swirling around in several directions, so making subtle corrections or mends in your line will be almost constant.

High sticking is a great way to increase your catch, and the best way to fish pocket water with nymphs. Go out there and give it a try this spring.