How To Fish Stillwaters

September 8th, 2003

Stillwaters, lakes, ponds and reservoirs are the most underutilized fisheries in the North America. Why? Because the average fly fisher doesn't know how to fish them, or where to start. Stay tuned, you too can master stillwaters! ~ LadyFisher

Marv's Peacock Emerger

By Marv Taylor, Garden City, ID

In my personal assortment of stillwater patterns, I have devoted one entire fly box to wet flies and nymphs tied with peacock herls. I have both the standard Zug Bugs and Prince Nymphs, as well as a wide assortment of other peacock-bodied patterns I've picked up from top fly tiers all across the country.

I fish two peacock bodied flies more often than all others combined. One is my old favorite Henry's Lake Renegade (which ran in this column earlier). The other is my Peacock Emerger.

Peacock Emerger

    Hook: Mustad 9671 (or equivalent) 8 - 14.

    Thread: Black 6/0 prewaxed.

    Tail: 1 peacock herl, body length.

    Abdomen: Several peacock herls, wrapped around tying thread, then wrapped around hook shank, 3/5 way to head.

    Thorax: Several peacock herls, larger than abdomen.

    Beard: Brown saddle hackle, flared (either as a beard, or wet fly style).

    Wing: 2 peacock herls, length of abdomen.

    Head: Black 6/0 prewaxed.

I fish this fly as midge, caddis, or mayfly emerger. Often we will find all three species hatching at the same time; one reason the fly is so effective. One of my fishing friends calls this is "Potluck Special." He says he doesn't need to know exactly what is happening down under to catch fish with it. I tend to agree with him.

I also like to use the fly where many other tubers are using Zug Bugs and Prince Nymph type flies. I have a theory that fish at times "tire" of seeing the same old flies drifting by all day long. I will often try to give em something a bit different. ~ Marv

About Marv

Marv Taylor's books, Float-Tubing The West, The Successful Angler's Journal, More Fragments of the Puzzle, (Volume I) and More Fragments of the Puzzle, (Volume II) are all available from Marv. You can reach Marv by email at or by phone: 208-322-5760.

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