Euro Nymphing Rods, Reels & Setup: A Guide

Updated: Dec 3, 2021
Leonard Schoenberger
Latest posts by Leonard Schoenberger (see all)

Over the last few years euro nymphing has become increasingly popular. That is because it can be incredibly successful to present flies where the fish feed. 

Table of Contents:

What is Euro Nymphing?

Best Euro Nymphing Rods Quick Answer List

Best Euro Nymphing Rods

Best Euro Nymphing Combo

Best Euro Nymphing Reels

Euro Nymphing Setup: Leader and Tippet

Euro Nymphing Flies

FAQ

Brown trout with nymph in hand caught while euro nymphing
A wild brown trout that took a small nymph

What is Euro Nymphing?

The technique initially emerged in competitive fly fishing in Europe. That’s why fly fishermen often refer to this type of fishing as euro nymphing, european nymphing, polish nymphing or czech nymphing. The technique behind this style of fly fishing is always the same. 

Since the trout feed mostly under the surface, the chance to outwit them there is very high. A trout knows its food very well and behaves rather suspiciously towards the nymphs we present to it. If the nymph does not drift in a natural way trout and grayling reject the fly. So when nymphs are being fished, the presentation is crucial.

Rudi Heger - Deutsche Traun - Nymphing
A classic spot for euro nymphing

The technique uses a long rod with a short line. The nymph should be fished precisely and every bite should be recognized immediately. Not every place is suitable for euro nymphing, because the fishing is done at rather short distances. Ideal are fast currents, deeper pools at a distance of about 10 to 15 feet which can be fished efficiently.

Features of Euro Nymphing Rods

Fly rods used for nymphing are typically a bit longer than a normal trout rod. As a general guideline a rod for the European style should be around 9ft6” to 11ft6”. Think of the rod as the prolongation of your arm as you fish this technique at very short distances. That’s why an extra bit of length can make a difference in the range you can fish from a certain spot.

Nymphing rods have a medium to fast medium fast action in order for you to be able to detect any take. Furthermore, a rod with such an action also makes the lob cast easier which is the casting technique used for european nymphing. Most of the rods used are in the #2 – #4 range. 

Rod Length

The euro nymphing rods are longer than usual. The main reason for this is that an extended rod allows anglers to have a better reach. Anglers make use of the lengthened leader to maintain contact with the flies. If you use the fly line, you create the drag, which is the worst thing that can happen, because your flies will travel at the speed of the line instead of the natural current. The 10’ rod is one of the most common lengths used by most anglers. 

Rod Tip

Nymph rods have sensitive tips so that anglers can easily feel any bite. The softness of the rods can differ. You have to make sure that the euro nymph fly rod is soft enough to feel the bite but strong enough to catch the fish without having to expend too much energy. 

Rod Action

The rod action refers to the point where the rod bends. A fast rod bends in the last third of the blank, while a slow rod bends in the beginning third. Nymph-style rods are usually medium-fast, which would mean they ben in the middle. So, the blank is slow enough for higher sensitivity and fast enough for shifting energy to turn over thin leaders.

Review of the best euro nymphing rods
A #2 – #4 rod of 9″ – 11″ and a heavier euro reel for nice balance

10 Best Euro Nymphing Rods Quick Answer List

1. Maxcatch Competition InTouch Nymph Fly Rod

2. Echo Carbon XL Euro Nymph Fly Rod

3. Moonshine Rod Co. The Epiphany Series

4. Cortland Nymph Series

5. Redington Strike Euro Czech

6. Douglas DXF

7. Orvis Recon

8. G.Loomis IMX-Pro Euro

9. LOOP OPTI K2 EURO NYMPH

10. Thomas & Thomas Contact Series

Best Euro Nymphing Rods

Now that you know the basics of euro nymphing and have learned about the most important features to look for in a euro nymphing rod, we want to take a closer look at some of the best euro nymphing fly rods out there on the market in 2022. We have broken this buyer’s guide down into three sections to make sure you can make a good choice no matter your budget.

Entry Level Nymph Rods

In this first part of the guide we’ll take a look at budget and beginners’ options.

M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Competition InTouch Nymph Fly Rod

The Maxcatch is a light, but strong euro nymphing fly rod that ticks all the boxes that are necessary for the perfect rod. Beginner anglers will find this to be the perfect euro nymph fly rod at such a low cost. In the earlier stages of fishing, anglers don’t have to purchase the most expensive rod on the market. One of the reasons why this rod is so popular is because it offers anglers all the benefits of a higher brand fishing rod. 

The Maxcatch is made of a Japanese nano resin, which makes the rod stiff, but still very soft in the tip. The stronger base of the fishing rod can help the angler catch larger fish when required. The rod is available in 2wt, 3wt, and 4wt, and 10′ to 11′.

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Echo Carbon XL Euro Nymph Fly Rod

The Echo Carbon XL rod was created because of the increasing demands of a fisherman who had to stick to a budget. This amazing rod retails at $189 and is a great price for such a lightweight and nimble rod. The reduced weight and the lower price make this fishing rod a steal. 

The rod is available in a 10’ length and is available in 3wt and 4wt. By using regular modulus graphite, the price of the Carbon XL Euro nymph fly rod has been kept low to make it affordable functional, and provide practical performance. The rod has a strong back, to easily cast nymphs with fast action. The Echo Carbon XL can be purchased in a fabric case that is stamped with Echo’s insignia to protect the rod from other elements.

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Mid-Range Options

In this second part we’ll dive deeper into mid-range euro nymphing fly rod options. Here are four great nymph rods for you to choose your favorite from.

Moonshine Rod Co. The Epiphany Series

Moonshine has successfully garnered a large following that has made them a favorite with anglers. The Epiphany series was first released in 2017. Since then the nymphing rod has been redesigned to become even better than before. 

The nymph fly rod is perfectly balanced and is very sensitive, making it a favorite with competitive fishers. Moonshine have been able to reduce the weight of the rod significantly by making the blank lighter. This fast-action rod’s blank is made of black and concrete bindings. By using a titanium frame stripping guide, the line sag is reduced. Along with that they have also used high-quality components that make this rod amazing. The manufacturer also offers a lifetime warranty.

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Cortland Nymph Series

The Cortland’s Nymph Series are some of the best nymph fly rods available under $300 in the market. This is a very versatile rod, with a very soft tip, and makes it very easy for beginners to get a feel while casting with a Cortland. 

The rod may have a plain matte blank but makes up for the simple design’s amazing features. The cork handle makes it very easy to cast. The Cortland rod is are designed to be butt-heavy which helps improve the balance and minimizes strain in the arm and wrist. 

Some really impressive features of the Cortland Series are:

Graphite Blank With a Matte Finish

Over-sized Light Wire Single Foot Guides

Down-locking Reel Seat

Alignment dots

Dual Locking Rings

Rod Bag and Cordura Rod Tube

High-grade Cork

Cork Composite Fighting Butt

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Redington Strike Euro Czech Nymph Fly Fishing Rod

The Redington STRIKE euro nymphing rod is one of the newest rods by Redington. They’ve always been focused on providing quality at an affordable price, and with the STRIKE, they’ve achieved just that. 

The STRIKE is available in five different models to be able to cover various while you might face while angling. In 3wt the rod is available in 10’, 10’ 6” and 11’. In 4wt, the rod is available in 10’ and 11 inches. The 3wt models are perfect for trout fishing, and the 4wt is ideal for tossing nymphs. 

Unlike the vast majority of the rods that are fast-action, the Redington is a medium-fast rod. The softness of the STRIKE makes it very sensitive, which works very well with the medium-fast action. You can easily detect any switches on your line and also protects against break-offs. 

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Douglas DXF

The Douglas DXF checks all the boxes that make it a wonderful euro nymph fly rod. Unlike some rods that can wear your arm out, the DXF weighs just 3.2 ounces, which makes it perfect if you are fishing for longer hours. Euro nymphing relies on feeling what is happening with the line while you fish. The more sensitive the tip, the easier it is to feel the fish, which makes the DXF a favorite with most anglers. 

The stiff back of the DXF helps in casting flies. It is lost and you need to practice with it to ensure your casts are accurate. The DXF is also very attractive with burnt cork rings, while still being functional. It has matte green blanks, white letters, and chromed lines to add more drama to the rod.  

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Premium Nymph Fly Rods

In the last part of this euro nymphing rod review we’ll check out some of the high end nymph rods out there on the market. These rods leave nothing to be desired and will accompany you on many fly fishing adventures to come because of their exceptional build quality.

Orvis Recon

The Orvis Recon is a lightweight rod, with Orvis stating that it’s the lightest rod in the class. The Recon 4-Weight 10’ makes the rod long enough to offer additional reach. Whether you are swinging streamers, extending drifts, or tracking nymphs, the rod helps you cover a larger area in the water. You can use the rod to increase the duration of the fly in any zone and also has the strength to catch larger trout. 

The construction techniques are refined and improved since the newer series has been released. Along with the other advantages the Orvis Recon also has higher hoop strength and better accuracy. It has an increased hoop strength and improved damping to make the rod more resistant. A rod is a great option for anglers who need a great rod at medium prices. 

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G.Loomis IMX-Pro Euro Nymph Fly Rod

The G.Loomis IMX-Pro Euro Nymph Fly Rod is the simplest way to increase the number of fish you catch. Most anglers love to use this rod in areas with higher fish count to ensure that their technique is effective and efficient. In such areas, you require discipline and good tools to be able to satisfy the angler’s demands. The IMX-Pro has been designed to load with ease and improve the accuracy of the casting. 

With the aid of Conduit Core technology, you can reduce the amount of graphite that is used in the construction of the fishing rod. This helps in creating a lightweight blank that is super sensitive. The G.Loomis IMX-Pro is finished with custom half wells that help in offering the angler a proper grip. The blank has a matte finish that gives it a beautiful appearance along with being functional. 

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LOOP OPTI K2 EURO NYMPH FLY ROD

The LOOP OPTI K2 is another wonderful option for a euro nymph fly rod that has been manufactured by the Swedish company. As the name indicates, this particular rod is created to fit with the euro nymphing techniques. The rod is long, light, and can handle the low line weight. When you are fishing with this technique, you are lobbing the weighted nymphs upstream with the aid of a tension cast and then guiding them at the same speed as the water flow. 

This 10’3 rod is a four-piece option. The longer lengths offer the anglers a longer reach and the lighter weight makes it a very popular rod with anglers. The further you cast, the larger the area you cover, and the easier it is to use. 

The LOOP OPTI K2s are designed in Sweden but built in Korea. Korea is now considered one of the best locations for rod production in the world. The rod is built with a wonderful design and made with high-quality materials. The pale silver-blue color gives the rod a beautiful appearance.

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Thomas & Thomas Contact Series Nymph Fly Rods

Thomas & Thomas has put a lot of effort into redesigning this rod. The company made changes in the blank’s design and features, and the tip. The euro nymph fly rods by Thomas & Thomas are pro anglers’ favorite rods for several reasons, all over the world. 

The 11′ rods are longer and so weigh a bit more too. The weight isn’t too much at about 3.17 ounces due to the increased length. The Contact rod is very sensitive but can be stiff for new anglers. 

The rod makes wonderful use of carbon and fiberglass to give the blank a stiff back while still maintaining the sensitivity that is so important in a euro nymphing rod. It has a soft and sensitive tip that helps the angler detect every pebble, stick, and other debris that passes by. The rod is available in 2wt, 3wt, and 4wt, with an additional option with 6wt. 

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Best Euro Nymphing Combos

Now that you have a board overview of the best euro nymphing rods 2022 out there on there market, we also want to take a look at euro nymphing combos. Combos can be a great choice for beginner fly fishermen and women and also if you are not entirely sure which rod works well with which reel and line. This guessing is taken out of the equation if you go for a euro nymphing combo. Here are some excellent options for you to chose from.

Mavrk Fly Fishing Stinger Comp Euro Nymphing Combo

The complete combo consists of a MAVRK 3wt Dual Nymphing Rod, Tracer 62 Euro-Nymph line/leader, and a Stinger Comp manual reel. The kit can be used by beginner and advanced anglers, as it offers them a variety of necessary components in one place. 

The rod helps you cast with greater accuracy, which increases the chances of catching more fish. When you cancel out the weight of the reel, your casting improves significantly which also helps you aim better. 

The lighter weight ensures that you feel less stress in your arms, wrists, and back. The reduced fatigue can help you extend your arm higher, thanks to the reduced weight. Because the rod is increasingly sensitive, it can feel all the passing plants and debris in the water. The lighter and thinner profile of the Stinger euro nymph combo rod also helps you carry additional rods. 

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Orvis Clearwater Euro Nymphing Rod and Reel Combo

With the increasing popularity of nymph fishing, Orvis helped in developing a fishing rod that is suited to the needs of this technique.  The rod has a very high sensitivity, along with a long reach that makes it easier for the anglers to use. The rod designers created the best euro nymphing fly combo rod that offers the angler a myriad of features, at a great price. 

The sensitive tip on the rod allows the angler to feel any takes. This rod is perfect if you need a more versatile rod, which is why anglers opt for a Clearwater regularly. When you purchase the complete outfit you can purchase a reel along with the rod.

The Clearwater 3-Weight 10′ Fly Rod Outfit includes: 

Clearwater 103-4 fly rod

175 yds. Dacron backing

Nymph Line

Clearwater II reel

Rod tube

13 ft. leader

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Cortland Competition Euro Nymph Outfit

Cortland has collaborated with other competitive anglers to create a specialized nymph rod. From the time that they have been released, the rods have made quite an impact on fishermen everywhere. 

The Cortland Competition Nymph Rod Complete Outfit offers one of the best euro nymph fly rod combo that has been built for ultra-sensitive techniques. The biggest improvement in the newest version is the modulus blank that helps in controlling the drift. It has the sensitivity of the past models, but now has a stronger butt section to help apply a higher power when you’re fighting any larger fish. The tips are flexible, yet recover easily, and also help in increasing accuracy during casting. 

The kit consists of a Cortland nymph rod, a Waterworks Lamson Liquid 3 reel, Cortland Competition nymph line to match rod, and tippet rings are included for free. 

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Best Euro Nymphing Reels

In order to balance the longer rods it is recommendable to use a slightly heavier reel than you would use for dry fly fishing for example. Another nice feature is a close cage reel. As a result the leader won’t get trapped in the reel (which can cause major frustration). Here are a few good options.

Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor

The Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor is a great entry level reel if you want to give Euro nymphing a try but don’t want to spend a fortune on a quality reel. The Orvis Clearwater comes in at less than $100 and still features many characteristics of a great nymph reel such as its large arbor design.

The Orvis Clearwater also features and adjustable disc drag with a click drag knob that allows consistent drag settings. A feature that comes in handy if you are new to this technique of fishing. Can be fished with left hand or right hand retrieve. You can’t go wrong with the Orvis Clearwater.

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Sage ESN Euro Czech Nymph Fly Reel W/Fly Line

The Sage ESN Euro Czech Nymp is a great euro nymph fly reel that comes with a Rio Euro Nymph Shorty fly line. This reel features a full frame design and comes in one size only. Since it includes three interchangeable accessory weights, you can dial it in to the exact specs of your rod. This makes the Sage ESN Euro Czech Nymp incredibly versatile even if you use different rods for your nymphing setups.

The Sage ESN Euro Czech Nymp features a very large arbor which makes picking up your line a piece of cake. Comes in chipotle color (pictured above) or stealth (black) color.

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Galvan Euro Nymph (G.E.N) Fly Reel

Galvan have made a name for themselves in recent years for building some of the finest trout fly reels on the market. Their Torque series has become hugely popular and their Euro Nymph series is no less impressive. The large arbor and close frame are two important features for euro nymphing.

The great thing about the Galvan Euro Nymph Fly Reel is the fact that its frame also fits the Torque and Rush spools of its siblings. This reel also features a fantastic, very sensitive drag system which can be crucial when fishing fine tippets for big trout. Reversible from left to right hand retrieve.

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Leader and Tippet for a Euro Nymphing Rig

Rio Two Tone indicator for your euro nymphing rig
Rio Two Tone indicator for your euro nymphing leader setup

The leader is one of the most crucial elements in the euro nymphing setup. Since this technique can essentially be fished without a fly line the leader often serves as a replacement for the fly line when making short casts. For the euro nymphing rig the leaders are very long between 15 to 30 feet from fly line (or backing respectively) to fly.

The reason behind the unusual long leaders in the euro nymphing leader setup is the drag. Any thick material on the water will cause your fly to move unnaturally and faster than it would without being attached to a line. 

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The final part of your setup is the tippet. It’s the very thin see-through material to which you attach the fly (nymph). Depending on the size of fish you are expecting the tippet should be stronger (1x is stronger than 2x and so on…). Some people swear by fluorocarbon (arguing that it’s less visible to fish) others still prefer classic monofilament. Here are two great options which will both work equally well.

If you want to use a fly line for your euro setup make sure you choose a very thin line. All of the leading manufacturers have special fly lines for euro nymphing. For your leader you can use a tapered one than you can buy out of the box or create your own by connecting colored leaders such as the Stroft Color. Tie a tippet ring to your leader and then connect your tippet which should be in the 5-7x range. As tippet material you can use monofilament or fluorocarbon whichever you prefer. 

When it comes to the size/diameter of the tippet you should go as thin and light as possible. Here again a thinner diameter means a better, more natural presentation of your nymph and a light tippet makes your fly sink fast.

Euro Nymphing Flies

Most of the time you don’t need any fancy flies for this technique. Simple patterns tied with a handful of materials work well in most situations. More important than the pattern is the weight of the flies/nymphs when euro nymphing. Furthermore it is recommendable to carry a number of different weights and sizes in your fly box

Tungsten gold flashback pheasant tail - one of the best euro nymphing flies
Tungsten Gold Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymph

A lot of fly fishermen use tungsten heads since tungsten is very heavy and hence makes the nymphs sink to the bottom fast. Many euro nymph specialists also swear by jig heads. The upside down effect makes snags a lot less likely when your nymph is bouncing close to the bottom where the fish feed. 

Tungsten copper Hare's Ear black
Tungsten Copper Hares Ear Black Nymph

The way you present your flies is across and upstream. You are basically standing below the fish to not spook them since you’re fishing at short distances. Make a short cast and then lift your arm as the nymph drifts through the current in front of you. Then make sure all of your leader is off the water with only the tippet being in the water. This way you can detect any take no matter how subtle it may be. Don’t be frustrated in the beginning. It takes a bit of practice to detect the takes. Rather set the hook once too often than not. Then you will learn quickly. 

Here are some great nymphs for this technique

FAQ

What is Euro Nymphing?

The technique initially emerged in competitive fly fishing in Europe. That’s why this type of fishing is often referred to as euro nymphing, european nymphing, polish nymphing or czech nymphing. The technique behind this style of fly fishing is always the same. 

What rod to use for Euro Nymphing?

Fly rods used for euro nymphing are typically a bit longer than a normal trout rod. As a general guideline a rod for european nymphing should be around 9”6 to 11”.

What reel to use for Euro Nymphing?

To balance the longer rods it is recommendable to use a slightly heavier reel than you would use for dry fly fishing for example. Another nice feature is a close cage reel. This prevents the leader from getting trapped in the reel. 

What flies to use for Euro Nymphing?

Most of the time you don’t need any fancy flies for euro nymphing. Simple patterns tied with a handful of materials work well in most situations. More important than the pattern is the weight of the flies/nymphs when euro nymphing. Furthermore it is recommendable to carry a number of different weights and sizes in your fly box.