How To Fish Stillwaters
May 16th, 2005

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

Which Method When

By Gary LaFontaine

THESE THREE METHODS, combined with a few more common techniques, form the core of a mountain lake strategy. The factor that usually determines the best method, at least when fish are in shallow water, is the wind. If the air is calm and trout are feeding, either a standard dry fly presentation for rising fish or a Spot-and-Cast presentation for deeper, cruising fish is a good tactic. In breezy conditions, with choppy water, the Hang-and-Bob is most effective. With a heavy wind the Floss Blow Line is not only easy to use when other methods are impossible but also deadly. The concept of wind management determines our approach when trout are shallow.

When fish move to deep water the wind is reduced to nothing but an annoyance—it no longer affects how and where trout feed in a lake. Our primary method in this situation is the Multiple Roll because it pulls fish to the top. If it doesn't work, then it's time to go deep with a searching technique such as the Count-Down Method.

Our group of stillwater fanatics use these methods all season, starting on valley lakes and ending on valley lakes. We don't just hit high-mountain fisheries during summer months. At times other fly fishermen join us for a day of fishing, but if they aren't stillwater specialists, they get lost in the animated conversations we have in the evening in a restaurant or a bar. To these people we might as well be talking about golf or tennis. That's how different stillwater fly fishing is from moving water fly fishing.

It's the work on the lowland ponds and lakes that can make you effective on mountain lakes. Develop an arsenal of methods, tackle, and patterns, focused on the challenges of mountain lakes, and fishing them with a fly will no longer simply be an afterthought. ~ GL

To be continued, next time: From the Bottom of the Food Chain

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