Streamside | Dave Rothrock’s Drop Shot Video

by | Apr 30, 2020 | 11 comments

The Troutbitten Streamside series is a chance to step away from the normal, weekly lineup of stories and tactics. Most often, these Streamside articles share something from around the fly fishing community that I’m certain will be valuable to Troutbitten readers. And this time, it’s Dave Rothrock’s Drop Shop Nymphing Video, from the YouTube channel of Suffering Outdoors. You can find it here:

Link: How to Set Up a Drop Shot Nymph Rig

I get a lot of questions about drop shot nymphing, and though I’ve mentioned it countless times in other Troutbitten articles, I’ve never devoted a whole piece to it. Why? Probably because it would take a full series of articles and many diagrams to convey my own take on drop shot nymphing. I’m sure I’ll get to it someday, but for now, here’s a quick rundown . . .

How I Drop Shot

Generally, I rig for drop shot when I want to touch the bottom, but I don’t want to lose my flies. Maybe it’s too deep to wade and recover the nymphs when snagged, or maybe I don’t want flies to pick up a bunch of salad from summertime rocks, so I turn to drop shot.

Truth be told, I prefer to tight line with weighted flies as a first option, but I choose split shot for the weight in many instances, because I believe some nymphs simply produce better when unweighted. I also prefer to add that split shot about five inches up from the point fly. And no matter how I rig, my goal for drifting is rarely the bottom itself — it’s the strike zone above it. I usually try not  to touch the riverbed.

READ: Troutbitten | Forget the Bottom — Glide Nymphs Though the Strike Zone

That said, drop shotting is my go-to method for nymphing at night. I use a glow-in-the-dark sighter, but I still lack total visual feedback in the darkness, so I turn to a drop shot rig. Then I can feel  the shot tick bottom through the drift and easily control the exact depth of the nymphs above. At night, those nymphs are often purposely higher than I like to ride them during the daylight.

Last point: I do use weighted nymphs in a drop shot rig — sometimes. Remember, there are no rules. And if it works and it suits your needs, fish it. I often run the same tag nymphs in a drop shot rig that I do in a standard rig. However, I like to keep the bottom nymph unweighted or lightly weighted.

So that’s me. But . . .

Here’s How Dave Rothrock Does It . . .

Dave is a fellow Pennsylvania fishing guide who has probably been slinging nymphs since before I was born. He’s a gregarious dude who ties excellent flies and has a deep knowledge of trout and trout-water, gained from decades on the river with an inquisitive mind.

You can find Dave on his Facebook page.

And here’s the video . . .


Fish hard, friends.

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky


Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 600 articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers
Your support is greatly appreciated

– Explore These Post Tags –

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

More from this Category

Why do we miss trout on a nymph?

Why do we miss trout on a nymph?

Late hook sets are a problem, as is guessing about whether we should set the hook in the first place. But I believe, more times than not, when we miss a trout, the fish actually misses the fly. However, that doesn’t let us off the hook either. It’s probably still our fault. And here’s why . . .

Loss of contact, refusals and bad drifts. All of these things and more add into missing trout on nymphs. So how do we improve the hookup ratio?

Fishing Light

Fishing Light

You’ve probably been wading upstream on a favorite trout stream and seen another angler’s lost tackle. Maybe the whole mess was in the streamside trees, with split shot and bobber attached, or a misguided F13 Rapala with rusted hooks. Maybe you’ve snagged a pile of monofilament stuck in waterlogged branches and lodged against a rock. And when you’ve seen all that mess, maybe you were stunned by how heavy the tackle was. Are you with me? . . .

Be a Mobile Angler

Be a Mobile Angler

Wading is not just what happens between locations. And it’s not only about moving across the stream from one pocket to the next. Instead, wading happens continuously.

Many anglers wade to a spot in the river and set up, calf, knee or waist deep, seemingly relieved to have arrived safely. Then they proceed to fish far too much water without moving their feet again. When the fish don’t respond, these anglers finally pick up their feet. Maybe they grab a wading staff and begrudgingly take the steps necessary to reach new water and repeat the process.

This method of start and stop, of arriving and relocating, is a poor choice. Instead, the strategy of constant motion is what wins out . . .

Beyond Euro Nymphing

Beyond Euro Nymphing

Euro nymphing is an elegant, tight line solution. But don’t limit yourself. Why not use the tight line tools (leaders and tactics) for more than just euro nymphing?

Use it for fishing a tight-line style of indicators. Use it for dry dropper or even straight dries. And use it for streamers, both big and small.

Refining these tactics is the natural progression of anglers who fish hard, are thoughtful about the tactics and don’t like limitations. I know many good fly fishers who have all come out the other side with the same set of tools. Because fishing a contact system like the Mono Rig eventually teaches you all that is possible . . .

New Structure | Old Structure

New Structure | Old Structure

One of my favorite places in the world is a deeply shaded valley that runs north and south between two towering mountains of mixed hardwoods. The forest floor has enough conifers mixed in to block much of the sunlight, even in the winter. The ferns of spring grow tall, and thick moss is spread throughout. The ground remains soft enough here that all large trees eventually surrender to the valley. When they can no longer support their weight in the soft spongy ground, they fall over, leaving a broken forest of deep greens and the dark-chocolate browns of wet, dead bark. It’s gorgeous.

Fallen timber also dictates the course of this cold water stream. The fresh tree falls force the creek to bend away from the hillside. Rolling water carves away the earth and lays bare the rocks — these stones of time, as Maclean puts it. And when water cuts into a neighboring channel, previously dry for centuries, new river banks are undercut and fresh roots exposed . . .

Light Dry Dropper in the Flow

Light Dry Dropper in the Flow

. . .The flow of the fly line through the air is finesse and freedom. Contrasted with nymphing, streamer fishing, or any other method that adds weight to the system, casting the weightless dry fly with a fly line is poetry.

The cast is unaffected because the small soft hackle on a twelve-inch tether simply isn’t heavy enough to steal any provided slack from the dry. It’s an elegant addition that keeps the art of dry fly fishing intact . . .

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.


  1. Very timely posting this drop shot topic today; just what I wanted to learn. Dave presented it quite well, and it was easy to follow his discussion. I enjoyed it much. Bring him back for more!

  2. Thanks for sharing the video and very well written article! Much appreciated.

  3. Before I started “proper” Euro-nymphing I used the drop shot method a lot; it is very productive. Only downside is if you are too aggressive with your cast it can tangle. I used two small tippet rings (instead of blood knots) to tie the droppers to as well as the bottom tippet for the weight. That rig could last several trips and it a break off occurred adding new tippet was a breeze.

    • Hello Dom, I thought I would finally make a comment or two. I am from out west here (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) and I have enjoyed your site immensely. I noticed that there are a number of anglers that prefer weighted flies over added weight that fish some smaller waters predominantly. I find that in our larger rivers I tend to favour the drop shot simply because I may have a close in section that is not too deep or fast but simple 2-4 feet out that completely changes and I want to fish the whole range without changing too much. Although having said that I am forcing myself to fish more just weighted flies to expand my arsenal, so maybe it is more comfort level what you can handle and accommodate. Last thing to add, my big concern with drop shot was getting to that strike zone but when you hear Dave explain about the angle it makes sense as to how you can hit that zone. If you can control your depth maybe you can avoid the complete bottom bouncing as well.

  4. Great post Dom! Enjoyed Dave’s clip as well.

  5. Very well done video. Will definitely try it.

  6. Sorry, but had to laugh at the “I’ve been doing this since the 1970’s” statement.

    Reference: “Angler Types in Profile: The I’ve been doing that forever guy.”

    So, yes, I am paying attention, if that was a test, Dom? 😛


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

Pin It on Pinterest