Advantages to Dry Dropper and Klink and Dink Fly Fishing | Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

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In fly fishing, the Dry Dropper and or Klink & Dink setups are invaluable for their versatility, allowing anglers to target both surface and subsurface feeding fish simultaneously. Each setup has its slightly unique applications and adjustments that can enhance its effectiveness under different conditions. The common thread is that fishing two flies and two columns of water is more efficient in prospecting than just one.  There are agreements and disagreements of that statement but there is no disagreement that the two fly setup of a dry dropper or Klink and dink are excellent tactics. 

Dry Dropper Setup

The Dry Dropper setup is a combination of a floating dry fly with a subsurface nymph or dropper. The dry fly serves as both an attractant to fish and a visual strike indicator for the angler, while the nymph targets fish feeding below the surface. 

Setup Methods:

  1. Connect the nymph to the dry fly via a tippet tied to the hook bend of the dry fly with a clinch knot.
  2. Connect the nymph to the main line via a clinch knot just above the dry fly. The knot to you fly will act as a stopper.  The advantage is that you can change your dry fly without disconnecting the nymph.  Here is a video.

  3. Connect the nymph to the dry flies eye hole. This works for larger flies but when the dry fly is small often getting more than one piece of tippet through can be difficult. 
  4. Connect the nymph on a tag.  Use a triple surgeons knot to connect tippet.  With 18 inches or desired depth between the two connect your dry fly to the top tag and your nymph to the bottom.  One advantage is that you can actuate your dry fly a bit easier on the surface.  You can actually bounce it around while the heavier nymph stays under water.  With Caddis this can be absolutely deadly from a fly fishing technique standpoint. 

Make Improvements:

Tippet Length and Weight: The length of the tippet connecting the dry fly to the nymph can vary based on the water depth you are fishing and the desired depth of the lower fly. Current speed, can affect this too where heavier flies may be required.  Although 6-24 inches is a common range do not hesitate to go really long.  This technique turned into one of my favorites for deeper slower pools where I can use the setup to be soft and stealth. Adjusting the weight of the nymph is crucial for reaching the desired depth without negatively impacting the floatation and presentation of the dry fly. A well balanced setup entails selecting appropriately weighted nymphs.  I don’t suggest adding split shot to the leader but it can be done if needed, although this can increase the risk of snags, potentially water disturb and the natural drift of the flies it is sometimes a necessity to get the lower fly into the correct depth location.

Klink & Dink Setup

The Klink & Dink, also known as the Duo or New Zealand style, pairs a floating Klinkhammer fly with a subsurface nymph or buzzer. This setup excels in covering multiple feeding zones, with the Klinkhammer acting as both an attractor and a strike indicator. If you are not familiar with the Klinkhammer hook style and range of flies, I suggest you do some homework. These designs allow the lower portion of the fly body to sink subsurface and act as an emerging or crippled fly. Because of this fish may be more inclined to take a look and turn to the nymph or just go for it. 

Setup Methods:

Don't over complicate it, the setups are the same as above, however the big difference is that dry fly is always a Klinkhammer hook style fly. 

Tips for Dry Dropper and Klink and Dink Optimization

Avoiding Tangles: Tangles are common but to avoid them open up your cast a bit by arching a little more and opening the look. 

Know Your Range: One of my favorite pat times with this style is to cast to banks.  Remember that you have a dropper and although you can see the dry fly you need to understand that your dropper will land out a bit further.

Understand Your Sink Rate
: When sight fishing and aiming to pick up a fish, you have to know where your nymph is.  Understanding how low it will drop and how fast can be game breaking. Set up your casts for a perfect drift. See this diagram for help. 

Use Wool:  Some dry flies are hard to see. If his is the case for you. Try a New Zealand Indicator style inline indicator with wool. Putting a high vise indicator 18 inches in front of your dry fly can make a world of difference for those having trouble seeing without sacrificing presentation all that much.
Dropper Tippet: Fluorocarbon sinks better and don’t forget to drop at least one size from the mainline.  Doing this will allow you to break off the dropper without losing the entire setup if and or when you get hung up. 

Something in the Skim: If you want your dropper in the skim. Try a monofilament dropper tippet and grease the tippet and nymph a bit.  This can be deadly for those hard to read sippers.

Tip: Here is a tip on how to fish the dry dropper. 

In conclusion, mastering the Dry Dropper and Klink & Dink setups involves understanding the nuances of each system, including the length and weight of the dropper line and the conditions under which each setup excels. Experimentation and adaptation to the local conditions are key to success with these rigs in fly fishing.

Here is an article on leader diagrams for dry fly fishing that I think you'll enjoy.

Read this article and it will help with understanding some of the idiosyncrasies of the leader formulas. 

Download the Tips and Tricks eBook 

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Christian Bacasa, Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

By Christian Bacasa
Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast
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