How To Fish Stillwaters

December 13th, 2004

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

Tips for Float Tubing

By Paul C. Marriner

  • One way to get some extra propulsion is to pack a couple of ping-pong paddles or kiddies' hand-fins in the back pouch with your lunch. Make sure they have wrist straps to avoid loss. Obviously these are useless while fishing, but they will be appreciated if you have to get ashore in an opposing wind (isn't it always blowing from the direction you want to go?).

  • If you wear fins over the neoprene feet of your waders, or over neoprene socks, carry a pair of oversize, inexpensive, boat-shoes along. Often it's far easier to walk to the car along the shore than to kick your way back, especially if a nasty wind springs up.

  • Particularly when fishing deep chironomids, one needs to anchor the float tube. I have used old lead sash weights with integral eyes but a better solution is the type of lightweight folding anchor sold primarily for kayaking.

  • Use your anchor rope as a depth guage by tying a knot every 5 -6'(1.5-1.8m).

  • Check float tube bladders at least once a year for signs of deterioration, watch for any rubbing of the external surfaces when transporting, and remember that widely fluctuating temperatures affect inflation pressure.

  • ...consider wearing a floatation vest of some sort (some jurisdictions require them). Stearns makes a very comfortable, although not inexpensive, auto or manual inflatable.

  • To change lines without danger of losing your rod, break it down in the middle. Put the tip section in the rod holder and string the butt section. Exchange, string the tip, and rejoin.

  • Don't use rods shorter than nine feet. Being so close to the surface makes long backcasts very difficult with shorter rods.

  • Never clip anything on the outside of a float tube unless it has a safety cord. Flipper keepers are another good idea.

  • When fishing a long leader in a float tube, don't hesitate to reel the leader into the guides when trying to land a trout. Don't worry about hang-ups, just make sure there is a smooth connection between line and leader and drop the tip if a big fish runs.

  • Ensure any potential purchase has a large stripping apron - there are few things as annoying as having a sinking line continually falling off the apron and tangling in your feet.

  • While neoprene waders help keep one warm when spending hours with various anatomical parts underwater, my choice is Goretex fortified with a couple of Polartec layers when necessary. This combo helps prevent dehydration due to excess perspiration.

  • Most problems occur during entry/exit operations. Back into and out of the water and don't sit or stand until at knee depth. If you start to fall throw your rod into the water to avoid breakage. ~ PCM

    More next time.

    Credits: Excerpt from Stillwater Fly Fishing, Tools & Tactics By Paul C. Marriner, published by Gale's End Press. We appreciate use permission.

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