For some reason, I spend about half my fishing time on one lake, South Delaney Butte in Colorado. The lake is 23 feet deep at the deepest point, and 20 foot deep in lots of places.
I will make a disclaimer that I don't fish many days a year, and often use spinning gear on lakes. I went through my fishing log, and I have caught more fish on that lake with Kastmaster lures than anything else, perhaps because the fish are often down.
I was at Delaney last weekend, and one of the other fisherman was using a sinking line. I don't own a sinking line of any kind, don't recall ever even trying one. I have a 6 wt rod which is my regular rod, so I am thinking a spare reel with some kind of sinking line.
I asked at the local fly shop, and they suggested a sink tip line, or an intermediate sink line (I think). In other words a line that sinks, but kind of slowly.
Doing a little research, I noticed that sinking lines seem a bit pricey.
Any thoughts on which line? Which type, which brand, which model?
Rio Deep 7 WF7S7 - This is possibly the skinniest full sink line on the planet. It can be used on rods up to 7 weight. I use mine on as low as a 5 weight. It sinks at 7 inches per second.
30 feet T-8 shooting head (240 grains) connected to a 20 pound test Amnesia or like running line. The head will drop approximately 7 to 8 inches per second. 20 pound test Amnesia measures .021" in diameter, so it will cut through the water.
Depends on the style you want to do. I fish a lot in lakes, reservoirs with floating line, leaders up to 30' long. Then I have a type VII full sink. This is all chironomid fishing.
Then I use an intermediate line for just sub surface fishing down to 6' deep. Type II, for 2' to 10', Type III for 5' to 15', Type V 10' to 20+' and Type VII 20+'. I also use a 200 gr. Orvis Depth Charge for deep waters too.
Floating, Type V, VII for chironomids and nymphs. Intermediate, Type II,III,V and VII for nymphs, streamers, buggers etc.
The higher the number, the faster the sink rate.
All full sink line types will eventually sink, but time is fish missed or not caught.
Hot summer months, the fish will be deep or near springs or inlets.
20' deep waters a type III or V will work good. Spring and fall when the fish are higher in the water column, floating, intermediate and type II, III work good to.
Still, chironomid fishing is good in the fall too, so floating line long leaders and fishing off the bottom will produce.
It's all in experimenting.
I have Cortland Clear Camo (intermediate) but want to try some Airflo Glass. The rest of my lines are Rio, and one Orvis. I like the Rio sinkers.
And once again, it's all relative in how much you fish flies.
I see your point that it depends on how you fish. I usually row my boat out 50 yards, anchor, and cast.
I would not think that I could cast a 30 foot leader, although if I was trolling I could probably use such a leader.
So would a sink tip then not be a good choice to get down 20 feet? I was told that a sink tip would be more versatile than a sinking line, and that a sinking line can be troublesome to cast, remembering that I am not a great fisherman.
Richard: Mojo and his wife Joni fish almost exclusively on stillwaters so I would listen carefully to what he has to say on the subject. and if you have questions on his approach don't be afraid to ask.
You might also want to pick up a copy of Denny Rickards book "Stillwater Presentation". Denny is a stillwater specialist from Oregon and his approach is to use a small pontoon boat (not anchored in one spot) and to cast in toward shore then slowly retrieve the line using a strip style retrieve, but he only casts in one spot once, then slowly kicks a few feet, casts again and so on. www.flyfishstillwaters.com - Fly Fish Stillwaters
Mojo knows the stillwater fishing better than anyone here on the website. His response shows that the line game is important. Getting the fly to the proper depth is key.
I am not a big fan of sink tips on stillwater. There are sink tips with 5' to 30' of sinking material. The problem is that a floating section is behind it. Even though some of the floating will sink, proper depth on the terminal end may not be acheived. That is why full sink lines and shooting heads are used when needing to get deep.
i started fishing from my float tube this year with a type IV uniform sink, and it has considerably increased my catch rate. I have had days when there was no action on a floating line with a 10 foot leader, but swap to the sinking line, and suddenly I was into fish. I have found that if you are kicking it keeps the line down deeper and you stay connected to the fly. You can cast out then kick a little to get more line out, give the trailing line an occasional tug to impart action, and just kick about slowly. casting, let the line sink a little and retrieve in short strips works really well also. I fish mostly nymphs, wiggle tails, and buggers in this manner. Casting a sinking line is a little more difficult than a floating line as you have to get enough line in to get it all off the water during the backcast, but, once you do this it tends to forward cast with a little haul pretty well. I have a set of sink tips as well, but have not tried them yet as the full sinking line seems to be working so well for current conditions.
Thanks to all for their comments. I can sure see that if you only have a 10 foot sinking tip that it is going to be tough to get down to 20 feet.
I should have said that I use a 14 foot aluminum boat, or a canoe, hard to get those to move slowly. The wind really pushes them around, and this is a pretty windy place. A trolling motor is one way to go slowly, but then I have that much more to manage, especially when it is windy.
To me, that was the attraction of anchoring, that I could focus on fishing and not on boat management. Years ago, I tried fishing with a boat and a trolling motor and downrigger, and spent all my time managing my rig. That was a frustrating experience that did not produce fish.
Obviously the belly boats are very popular, presumably for good reason. Pretty easy to move slowly in a belly boat. I have never used a belly boat or a small pontoon boat. Not sure how belly boats work in cold conditions with wind and wave.....
Maybe I need more than a sinking line, maybe I need to change boats. :-( I already have five boats, mostly canoes and kayaks, I guess that I could get one more, especially if it does not take up much space.
Part of my problem is not really an equipment issue, it is trying to imagine a totally different system of fishing.
Richard: I used to fish Delaney Buttes like you describe by anchoring my boat (I was using my drift boat so anchoring wasn't an option due to the wind) and fishing chironomids deep with a very slow hand twist style of retrieve and I caught fish, but this year I have gone to the style that Dave has described and my catch rate has gone up (I'm now using an NFO Rampage pontoon, a much better option for stillwater fishing). The next time you are out on the lake, note how the other guys using float tubes and pontoons are fishing, you will find that most of them are using the technique that Dave is describing above. The biggest advantage of a float tube or small pontoon boat is that you can slowly move the rig with the fins, while you are fishing. A float tube isn't that expensive an investment to give this technique a try.