Stillwater Techniques and Tips
As a stream and river fisherman and guide my experiences fishing stillwaters have primarily been confined to fishing high alpine wilderness lakes. I typically fished these lakes in the spring right after ice out with a 65 pound pack on my back. The fish were hungry and the techniques were pretty straight forward. I’ve recently started my education and journey to become a more accomplished stillwater fly fisher and my intention is to share what I am learning or have learned right here. I will share techniques and tips that I have gathered from Brian Chan and Phil Rowley. Both accomplished Canadian stillwater fly fishers. Stillwaters are their specialties.
So come along and enjoy the ride.
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I recently had the good fortune to attend a Stillwater Clinic that was put on by Phil Rowley. Phil is a strong proponent of being prepared when fishing stillwaters. This means having consistent and good habits. This also means having your equipment in order, knowing the entomology and locomotion of the bugs you will find in stillwaters and maintaining good and positive energy.
Here is a summary of Phil’s Top 10 Habits for Success on Stillwaters. I was introduced to his top 10 Habits at a “Stillwater School” he put together in Idaho. If you every get a chance to attend one of Phil’s Stillwater Schools or Seminars you won’t be sorry. You can check out Phil’s website at www.flycraftangling.com for lots of tips on fishing stillwaters or check out his schedule of events for schools and seminars. This article is a great place to start with a new “Stillwater Attitude, whether you’ve been fishing stillwater for years or if you’re just getting started……”Continue to the Full Article – Top 10 habits for Stillwater Sucess":/techniques/tips/stillwater-techniques/top-ten-habits-for-stillwater-success
When fly fishing there are some things we can control and some things we can not. We have no control over our weather or our physical environment such as water temperature, barometric pressure and wind. Our fly fishing equipment is controllable. If we as fly fishers focus on what can be controlled, we will be better prepared for what we cannot. If our equipment is in order and we have everything we need, we will be consistently more successful.
On any given day it’s what you have in your arsenal as opposed to what you left at home that can make a big difference. A well stocked and organized kit bag can make this difference. A kit bag is your stillwater nerve center that should be ready to go at a moments notice. Here is a complete checklist of what you’ll need to be prepared for stillwater adventure…….Continue to the Full Article – Stillwater Kit Bag
I had the unfortunate experience of fishing an Idaho Lake a few weeks ago when the wind started blowing and gusting like crazy. I was fishing in my pontoon boat and I was soon swinging and swaying with the wind. Trying to cast and present my flies where I wanted to was downright impossible. I essentially gave up. There were some other people fishing out of double anchored boats and they were fishing comfortably and having no problem at all. They were catching fish and I was trying to just stay in one place. Luckily the wind died down and I was able to continue fishing. I’ve learned my lesson. If you want to rig up your pontoon boat with a double anchor here’s how!…Continue to the Full Article – Double Anchoring a Pontoon Boat
One of the preferred tactics of many stillwater experts is the use of a slow almost painful retrieve especially when using chironomid patterns. This technique is often done “Naked”, which is without and indicator. In order to fool the largest and most challenging fish you must sometimes retrieve the fly at a maddening creeping pace. This pace is often referred to as static. Sort of like watching paint dry.
When targeting greater depths, 10’ to 20’ many of these anglers have used indicators. The technique evolved using corkie indicators set to depth and fixed in place with a toothpick to enable the angler to present flies right on the bottom where they need to be. In the past toothpicks have been the most popular method of pegging the indicator to the appropriate depth. The only problem was that when a fish was hooked, the anglers risked loosing the fish by having to grab the line during the battle, using their teeth to remove the toothpick. The indicator slid free for the balance of the fight. With the newer evolution of “Slip” or “Quick Release” indicators, the battle of removing the toothpick is now over.
This article will show you all you need to know to put slip indicators to use, leaders, rigging, casting and how to fish them. . .Continue to the Full Article – Slip Indicator basics
When fishing stillwaters either in the shallows or weed pockets, in depths over 10 feet and up to 25 feet integrating indicator tactics can pay big dividends. Phil Rowley showed me the many benefits of using indicators at his Stillwater School. Here’s some Stillwater Indicator tips. By integrating Indicators into your stillwater strategy you will be able to;
Avoids snags and fouling
Work shallow water depths
Work weed pockets and above debris and weeds
Give you the ability to surgically control depth and retrieve speed
This article will show you options of different types of indicators to use for different water types and conditions. . .Continue to the Full Article – Indicator Options for Stillwaters
I spend a lot of my fishing time out of a drift boat on a Northern California tailwater. I don’t really pay much attention to water temperatures. The water being released from a dam stays pretty consistent. It’s more about the flows. With stillwaters its a whole different story. It’s all about water temperatures
By checking water temperatures we can eliminate non productive water. All fish have a preferred temperature range where they are most active. For most lakes that have rainbow trout, it is recommended to use a scale of 55F to 65F. When temperatures are in this range the trout’s metabolism will be at its peak and it should be feeding. Keep in mind that as water temperature increase, the trout’s ability to hold oxygen decreases. As a result trout avoid high temperatures in excess of their comfort zone and will move to areas of the lake that have cooler temperatures, typically deeper or areas that have springs or inlet streams
With this information we may deduct that one of the most valuable tools in a stillwater kit bag is a thermometer. When this is attached to a cord you can probe and test water temperatures in different areas of a lake and different depths.This will help you locate trout. . .Continue to the Full Article – Checking Water Temperatures to Locate Stillwater Trout