While visions of brown trout slurping dry flies frequent our dreams, the truth is fishing subsurface flies will yield better catch rates most of the year.

If anglers are serious about catching fish, they will do everything they can to increase the odds of success! That often means using multiple flies on one rig to show the fish different looks and different bug imitations. As everyone starts to shake off cabin fever and think about the upcoming trout season, keep these five duo nymph rigs in mind.

5.) Orange Single Egg + Prince Nymph

If there is even the slightest chance a fish is spawning in a stream (trout, chub, sucker, etc.) you’ll catch trout using egg patterns! Pound for pound eggs have more protein than just about anything else in a fish’s diet, so it’s only natural a few flies should be in our box at all times. Is there a more classic nymph than the prince? As fly fishing trends have come and gone one of the few patterns to withstand the test of time is the prince. It works everywhere and anywhere trout live and that’s why it’s a surefire choice to be highlighted on one of the top nymph rigs.

4.) CDC Pheasant Tail + Squirmy Wormy

This tandem rig is one to have at the ready year-round. Underwater action from the squirmy worm material drives trout absolutely bonkers. This fly will catch native brookies, wary spring creek trout, and stocked fish alike. When it comes to attractor nymphs, the CDC PT is one of the best. It can serve as a passable imitation for stoneflies, mayflies, and midges on its way to catching plenty of trout. This nymph setup is one of the go-tos for new water where hatch charts and fish behavior might be an unknown. Fish these flies with confidence as you observe what else is going on and what the trout might be keying on that particular day.

3.) King Prince Nymph + Sparkle Wing RS2

A new take on a timeless pattern is the king prince. In a time when curved and jigged hooks are all the rage, the slight bended shank has turned the prince into a deadly trout catching machine. When fish are being a bit particular and the original prince isn’t doing the trick, the king prince might be the ticket. A fly that is a bit more obscure from the historical spotlight is the sparkle wing RS2. Its cousin, the copper ribbed RS2, gets more of the fame and notoriety but it shouldn’t! The sparkle wing in olive or grey can produce big numbers when midges are coming off. It’s also a great choice for Trico imitations when used in smaller sizes.

2.) Rainbow Warrior + Olive WD-40

The thin profile and tungsten head of the rainbow warrior makes it an excellent fly for skinny water. When fish are hugging the bottom, the sooner our flies reach the target zone the better. Often times that can mean using multiple split shot even when fishing spots that are slow, so the tungsten head can help avoid needing to add so much extra weight. As far as trailing flies go, the WD-40 gets the job done better than most. The beauty of this fly is its lightness can result in a certain level of free-floating that makes the trout go crazy for it! One of the hardest things to determine is what level of the water column trout are feeding in, so having a fly bounce around through multiple layers can be quite beneficial.

Left image from Blue Quill Angler

1.) Copper Ribbed RS2 + Zebra Midge

The Cadillac of nymph rigs. Neither fly is often used or highly touted, but each one flat out produces. While most “top fly” lists stick to more mainstream patterns these ones are equally if not more productive. Tie on this rig with confidence for spring creek and freestone fishing alike. Using the copper ribbed RS2 and zebra midge in tandem can be exceptionally effective during winter months when midges reign supreme and during mid-summer when wary trout have shut off from larger flies. Tie these two patterns on and be sure to have the net ready!