Apparently fishing beads has become a hot topic for the fishing community of Montana. FWP is concerned about bead fishing and its effect on fisheries. Others are certain that bead fishing and the snag technique is harmful, no matter whether a bare hook or a nymph is used.
How is double-nymph fishing any different? When a fish takes the upper nymph, often times the lower nymph snags the fish somewhere other than the mouth. Currently bead fishing is illegal and considered snagging but in my opinion they are completely different. I’m no expert and don’t really bead fish but I’ve talked to several Alaska guides who have an interesting take on the subject. First of all, egg patterns are not going away. Whether they are attached to a hook or not they are still effective and anglers will use them regardless. According to a few Alaska guides I’ve talked to, pegging beads is much better for the fish. Trout tend to take an egg very deep so when your hook is attached to the bead mortality rates go up. Hooking a fish in the gill plate or outside of the mouth seems less harmful than in the tongue or gills if you asked me.
To classify bead fishing as snagging seems a little off base. Snagging is typically done with a bare weighted treble hook that a fish does not willfully eat. It is thrown out and dragged back in hopes to snag something along the way. Bead fishing is done with an artificial lure / bead that fools the fish and is then hooked by the trailing hook on the outside of the mouth 90% of the time. Better known as flossing.