Quick question here. I've only recently got into fly fishing, so forgive me if this seems like a rediculous question. I've been sticking to streams and working on my dead-drift and having great success, but this weekend I'll be fly fishing on my first lake. Is there anything I should look to change up? I'll still be fishing for trout. I've read about some people using soft hackles on lakes. Maybe a good place to start?
Not sre where youre located at, but where I normally fish at (Eastern Sierra and a couple of small SoCal lakes) I usually have pretty good success with olive or black wooly buggers in smaller sizes, 12/14 something like that. On lakes I usually fish from a float tube or a kayak and have found that a combination of trolling and retrieving line with short fast strokes seems to work best for me.
It's always a good idea to pop into a local fly shop (or tackle shop if there aren't any fly shops around) to try and get some pointers in exchange for a purchase of some flies and other odds and ends (or Mountain Dew and Slim Jims from a bait store?).
If you're not familiar with the lake you might want to see if you can get a contour map of the lake from your states fish and game website (many states have pdfs), and take a look using Google Earth to see if you can see areas of dropoffs (dark water), shoals extending from points, outlets where the lake drains in to a creek, or inflows from streams that feed the lake etc.
These might give you some ideas of where to target if you have access to a boat or tube. And they can help give you an idea where there might be a productive place to try from shore.
Dries are always worth a shot, especially if you seen obvious rises. If you're out West, many lakes have a grayish mayfly typically size 12-18 called Callibaetis that hatch May-Sept on many lakes. An Adams or Parachute Adams is a pretty close imitation for the dun, and a pheasant tail is a good imitation of the Callibaetis nymph. Many lakes East and West will also have midges. Again small Adams, or stuff like Griffith's Gnats might work if you see rises.
Nymphing can also be productive. Dragon fly and damsel fly nymphs are often found in lakes around vegetation. Olive nymphs size 10 or 2, or olive woolly buggers in those sizes might be good to strip around weed beds.
And as others have a said casting weighted, meaty stuff like buggers or streamers weighted with lead or nontoxic 'lead" wrap, or with bead or cone heads can be productive. Using a 7-9' leader and a floating line, cast out and count 10 Mississippis before you retrieve to let it get down a bit. On each cast, keep adding more Mississippis until you start hitting bottom or connecting with fish. And, if you have a fly line with a sink tip, throwing and "counting down" big black stuff like size 4 or 6 Black Marabou Muddlers, Zonkers etc can be a very effective way of catching large trout in lakes.
Depending on the lake, the water temps, and the fish in it, you might also run into warm water fish rather than trout. You could be pleasantly surprised with a bass or two, or run into some panfish that will whack most any dry flies you throw.
All good advice so far. If you have a second rod, have it rigged differently than your other. Have one lined up with a floating line. Have one lined up with a full sink or a sink tip for subsurface action. It is much more efficient to change rods rather than rerig. Stillwater fishing is a depth game. Being able to get the fly to the desired depth is important.
Edit: I assumed that you were going to fish from some sort of watercraft. If you are going to fish from the shoreline or wade out and only have one rod, either carry a spare reel or spool or carry a wallet full of sinking leaders. This will help you get your fly down to the depth to where the fish are holding.
Big Bear Lake is where I'm planning on fishing, and the one angling shop that I visited basically recommended the olive woolly buggers they had in a case and not much else. (Not much fly fishing advice there, really). The lake sits around 6000 feet in elevation and is stocked with rainbows. No natives that I know about until you get further downstream below the dam.
I've seen a lot of activity multiple times on the surface while kayaking and biking around the lake. At first I thought they were trout, but others have hinted they were probably carp.
According to wikipedia, Big Bear Lake is a hot spot for stocked trout, and largemouth bass. It looks like a great lake, and I'd go with a #10 Olive Wooly
Bugger, fished on a 3X 9' leader. Casting along a bank like the one shown in the video should yield something. That's an awfully big lake, and a boat or
canoe would help, but obviously aren't essential. While it might be tough to get a decent backcast along the type of shoreline shown in the video, positioning yourself so that you can cast at a 45 degree angle to the bank should get your fly out far enough. I tie my own flies, and would use a heavily weighted bugger there. You might want to add a split shot a couple feet up from your fly to get it down.
Strip your bugger in short and long, and see which works. Let it sink a bit if you're in a deeper section of the lake. If you have any nymphs, you can tie
a 16-18 inch length of 4X tippet to the bend of the bugger. Casting two flies isn't the most fun at first, but it's effective and you'll get used to it. This
will work for trout and largemouth, and I often catch largemouth at my local lake when fishing for trout. Enjoy the fishing!!!