Give Tandem Rigged Fishing Flies a Try for Pursuing Trout

June 20, 2022

Mountaineer News | The Editors

'The Outdoors Specialists' - Fishing

BUCKHANNON, WV - Tandem Rigged Fishing Flies are one to keep in your fly box of tips and tricks when pursuing trout.

Two fishing flies are tied to your leader and fished simultaneously with one fishing fly leading the other. As the fishing flies drift by, oftentimes trout will strike one of the fishing flies.

In this article, we detail four variations of tandem rigged fishing flies that have been proven fish-getters for trout in our area - specifically,

  • Streamer and Nymph

  • Nymph and Streamer

  • Dry Fly Dropper

  • Too Deere

Give tandem rigged fishing flies a try on your next fishing trip and increase your opportunity to catch more trout!

Streamer and Nymph

The Streamer and Nymph Tandem Rig calls for a streamer and a smaller fishing fly like a nymph or midge pattern.

In our area we tend to use an Bead Head Wooley Bugger or Near Deere in size 10 for the leading streamer, and either a Stonefly Nymph, Gold Ribbed Hares Ear Nymph, or Rainbow Warrior in size 14 to 16 as the trailing fishing fly.

Starting with a foot of monifilament line (4-6 lbs test), we tie one end to the hook bend of the streamer using an improved clinch knot.

Then, we tie the other end of the line to the nymph/midge also using an improved clinch knot and set about 8" to 10" from the streamer.

After clipping off the tag ends, we tie the streamer to our tippet and proceed to fish the tandem rig under a strike indicator.

We normally set the strike indicator at three feet above the streamer initially, then make adjustments depending on the depth we are getting strikes.

Nymph and Streamer

The Nymph and Streamer Tandem Rig is the reverse of the Streamer and Nymph Tandem Rig.

That is, the Nymph or Midge becomes the leading fishing fly and the streamer will trail behind.

The Nymph/Midge is tied on a 10" to 12" dropper using the excess tag end of a barrel knot (or an Uni-Knot).

Then, the Streamer is tied to the other tag end and set 2' to 3' from the dropper.

We may use a strike indicator but will typically fish this setup without one. Instead, we use this to "scout" the water column to determine where the fish may be lurking.

Letting the rig slowly sink and eventually the streamer bounces the bottom, we will count in one second intervals.

When we get a strike, we will note the count, and hopefully, fight and land a fish. Afterwards, we will recast, start counting again, and let the rig sink to the bottom.

Comparing the difference between counts we can approximate where the fish struck in the water column.


  • A fish struck our tandem rig after counting to five.

  • We recast and counted to ten when the tandem rig sank to the bottom.

  • Given five is half of ten, we approximate the fish struck midway from the top to bottom

  • We then focus our efforts on presenting our fishing flies to that area of the water column

Dry Fly Dropper

The Dry Fly Dropper Tandem Rig uses a large dry fly and a smaller nymph or midge fishing fly.

The intent is to target fish feeding at or near the water's surface while working the upper 3' to 4' of the water column where fish may be feeding on emergents.

For the dry fly, large patterns like a Chernobyl Hopper or Patriot Fly work well. These do double duty as a fishing fly and a "strike indicator".

For the smaller nymph/midge, the same patterns as used in the Streamer and Nymph and Nymph and Streamer Tandem Rigs work nicely.

Similarly, an improved clinch knot tied to the hook bend of the dry fly is used to attach a 1' to 3' of monofilament line.

Then, the nymph/midge is tied to the other end of the monofilament line.