how do I read still waters?? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: how do I read still waters??

04-23-2007, 07:08 AM
the other day I read on the net a phrase I found excellent: " those who donīt fish streamers is probably because the canīt catch anything with them". It applies to myself. The same I could say for myself in fishing trout on lakes. I find it difficult to interpret where the fish are.
Iīve found a lot of material on the net explaining how to read moving water (pockets, eddies, riffles, backwater by the banks, etc.), I think I more or less get the point, but I canīt find absolutely anything regarding lakes or dams.
Any suggestions? All Iīve heard is that usually trout will face up-wind, and that they may hold where the shallow bottom starts suddenly to get deep (I hear you can tell this by the change in the water color, it gets bluer as it gets deep)

advice will be highly welcomed

04-23-2007, 11:32 PM
Reading still waters is much more about understanding what the fish eat, what food sources are available in a particular body of water Vs. reading seams and currents etc, on flowing waters.
The best advice I can give is to find a good searching patterns, and that may vary along with the season. A favourite of mine is the leech pattern. Try to find leeches in the body of water you are in, they usually swim around rocks along the shore. Imitate the size and colour in your patterns and go searching. Other good searching patterns are Damsel nymphs and Dragon Fly nymphs. These usually hang around weeds and reeds. Again, try to find real ones and imitate them in your patterns.
Look for any changes in the bottom, like gravel to silt, drop offs, ledges, sunken islands, weed beds, large boulders, underwater logs, etc. (I sometimes use a 2 Lb. steel ball that I drag along the bottom to do this) Those are the likely places for trout to feed.
If there is any surface activity, identify the insect and then get nypmhs to match them. Don't forget emerger patterns as well for those insects. Much of my subsurface fishing is done in water between 3 feet deep and 12 feet deep, so you don't need a heavy sink tip. Weight the flies with varying weight as you make them and mark each type,(I use different color threaad for the head, the different colors tell me the weight, so black = light weight, green/olive = medium, wine/red = heavy) ) then experiment. Some days the trout will take the fly as it sinks, other days they prefer an ascending fly, so vary your retrieve as well.
Do a web search for "Still Water Tactics" or Fly fishing Still waters" and you will get lots of good articles, adapt the knowledge gained to your situation.
Hope this helps.

04-24-2007, 06:57 AM
To add to Pete's great advice...

The #1 way to find trout on still water is to look for rises.

As Pete says, during spring turnover and fall the fish are roving freely and searching is the best approach.

Some regions of the country are not as suited to trout as others so as things heat up in summer trout are forced into more accommodating scenarios like spring fed areas, inlet creeks, wind-blown shores, or just the stratus where cool water lies 5-20 feet below the surface.

At night many trout come to the top few feet of open water and the shoreline to make up for having to hide all day from the beaming sun, even in stillwater that gets surprisingly warm.

Generally I like to fish at dawn or dusk and throw meaty baitfish patterns while walking along the shoreline to find the big aggressive trout looking for a fish, not a bug to eat. I have caught the biggest and most aggressive trout of my life this way.