My selection includes short leaders, three feet
long tapering to 1X, for streamer fishing with
sinking lines, and medium length leaders, seven
to nine feet long tapering from 4X to 8X, for
nymph fishing. I use long leaders - up to
eighteen feet long and carefully tapered for
good turnover - for emerger and dry fly fishing.
My experiences on mountain lakes have made me
very fussy about colored lines and long, hand-tied,
perfectly tapered leaders for my surface fishing.
There has been only one day when this "stealth"
combination wasn't good enough. It was on
Abicaulis Lake in the Clark Fork of the Columbia
Log entry: August 17th
Miracle of miracles—the wind is a curse on this
little lake, not just blowing but always blowing
hard, but today there was only a breeze. Over
half of the lake was flat calm and trout were
I paddled out in the kick boat and my passing
didn't stop fish from feeding. Then I cast, the
line settled on the water easily, and everything
in a patch of ten square yards ran from the area.
Not only did that circle in the lake go dead but
it stayed dead. An hour later, with fish still
dimpling everywhere else, nothing moved in that
circle. I made two more casts, created two more
empty zones, and started wishing for the return
of the endless winds.
The only way I could take fish on a dry fly was
by kicking over to the choppy water and casting
back into the flat water. Even then the fly line
had to land entirely in the chop; only the leader
could touch the flat water without scattering
these hypersensitive trout.
I used an eighteen-foot leader, which took some
tinkering and tying to get it to turn over into
the breeze that was blowing in my face. It had
to be as long as possible to reach as far as
possible into the flat water. Once the fly,
a size-14 Shroud to match the Callibaetis,
was into the middle of the feeding fish, it
only took a few minutes to get a strike.
What's missing? I leave out a lot of small
accessories that are standard equipment in
my regular fishing vest because every ounce
counts; and a net is too bulky to carry into
the high country.
- Predator Equipment Company
For hiking while fishing the chest pack works
better with a backpack than a vest. Mine isn't
overly stuffed, except with flies (which weigh
next to nothing). Following are items you are
likely to find in my chest pack:
- Binoculars (Orvis Image Stabilizer Binoculars).
- Fly Boxes (Sierra Pacific Bristle Tack Fly Boxes)
Weight is always a consideration, and these are light.
- Fly Flotant (Loon Aquel or BTs Float-EZY).
- Gum Rubber Shock Material.
Dentists use this clear rubber material with
braces. A 12-inch piece, tied with a double
surgeon's knot between the butt section and
the leader, cushions strikes and sudden lunges,
preventing break-offs with fine tippets.
- Hook File.
This is for sharpening hooks, which should
become a ritual before tying any fly onto
- Indicator Yarn
This is for the Hang-and-Bob Technique. Black,
which shows up in the silvery glare, and yellow
are valuable colors on lakes.
- Leader Material (Maxima Chameleon from the
butt section through OX; and Umpqua for IX through
8X) The properly tied dry-fly leader has a stiff
butt, a fast-turning center, and a supple tippet.
Even a nymph leader needs a supple tippet.
- Polaroid Sunglasses.
- Split Shot.
- Stomach Pump.
The name is misleading. The angler squeezes in
a bit of water and sucks up the last few items
a fish ate from his gullet. Properly used, the
stomach pump goes nowhere near the stomach and
doesn't injure a fish.
MY FRIENDS would wake up screaming in the
night at the thought of fishing a lake with
only their river equipment. They are stillwater
specialists, with rods, reels, lines, and
leaders designed for the challenges posed by
ponds and lakes. They also fish streams and
rivers, but they use equipment designed to
handle problems presented by running water.
Why don't stream specialists, who comprise the
overwhelming majority of fly fishermen, have the
same aversion to fishing a lake with only their
river equipment? It doesn't seem to bother most
of them. On any summer day on any popular Montana
trout lake there are plenty of fly fishermen
flailing away futilely with inappropriate gear.
They catch little or nothing playing slog-and-flog.
The richer a lake, the more specialized you
have to be to catch trout. Even on mountain
waters, populated with supposedly unsophisticated
wild fish, tactics developed specifically for
stillwaters fool the most, the biggest, and the
toughest residents. These specialized techniques
require specialized equipment. Consistent success
in lakes start with the proper tackle. ~ GL