Saw this great article on Gink and Gasoline which is one of the best fly fishing blogs on the internet. This is something I tell people all the time and is an idea that is starting to get traction in fly fishing circles. IT IS OK TO FISH NYMPHS!! Feels good to yell this to the internet. For some reason most new fly anglers have this idea that they need to fish dry flies. Nothing wrong with fishing drys, I would argue that the feeling/visual of a trout slamming a dry on the surface is the best. But trout only spent a small portion of their time surface feeding.
So if you only get out to fish a couple times a season, and if you live near a highly pressured trout water what fun is never catching anything. If you fished everyday and want to focus on different techniques (in other words you don’t care what you catch, its about the process) then its one thing. But I feel like what often discourages people new to fly fishing is getting out there any never catching anything. Fly fishing has a pretty steep learning curve and most new anglers spend many days before they catch their first trout, but you might as well give yourself the best odds you can.
I remember my first day fly fishing on my own. I had completed a Orvis class years ago and one of my buddies and I went out to a stream they recommended and we spent about 6 hours out there and caught nothing. Now in our defense other then having some limited casting skill we knew nothing about what we were doing. But we were trying all type of flies, including a lot of dries without any success. It wasn’t until after a few more unsuccessful trip that I caught my first nice brown trout on a small black stone fly.
So its ok, fish nymphs, use indicators, use multifly rigs (I love the dry fly with dropper). You will still find it challenging, and casting requires a lot of concentration (that first birds nest is the worst). When the conditions of a great hatch enable you to use dries, use them it is a ton of fun but there are so many patterns out there.