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Warmwater Fly Fishing Bass, Bream, Perch, etc...

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Old 01-04-2014, 10:14 AM
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Default Nymph Fishing In Still Water

So I've just started fly fishing and when I've gone to any body of water without a current and the fish aren't feeding on the surface, I'm almost at a loss at what to do. I know that then it's not time for any dry flies, but how do you fish a nymph or wet fly without current. I know if there is a current you can just cast into it and let it drift, but what do you do if there is absolutely zero current? Thanks and have a good day!
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Old 01-04-2014, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: Nymph Fishing In Still Water

Brian Chan says to use a side scan fish finder to locate fish. You need the side scan so you can cover a lot of area and you don't need to be directly over the find to find them.

Then use a very long leader with a strike indicator and fish at that level. First try just letting the wave action bob the strike indicator to animate the fly. Then you can try various strip retrieves.


Fly Fishing Basics - How to Fish with Brian Chan

Flyanglers Online - Podcast by Hugo Gibson

Brian Chan | Fly Fishing

Denny Rickards is another still water expert and you can google his tosee his books and flies.

Stillwater Presentation | Denny Rickards | Fly Fishing
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:01 AM
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Default Re: Nymph Fishing In Still Water

Do a dry dropper. I'll usually tie on a beetle or really bushy dry like a wulff pattern (terrestrials are often blown into the water and drift until they sink) and they drop a nymph or two off the bend of the hook. It is helpful to use a dry that is very visible. You can give them some action by twitching them a bit, though it is hard to do this subtly. Usually there is some breeze creating a bit of chop on the water which will give then nymph a bit of movement. You might have to play around with depth and weight of the nymphs as well as the type to see where the fish are and what they want.

Another option is to throw a streamer. You can trail a nymph behind the streamer and play around with different retrieves, pauses, etc etc. You can also hang the streamer (and nymph if you add one) under an indicator so that when you pause it doesn't just sink but hangs as a certain depth.

Fish often move around in stillwater, cruising for food. Here in the Rockies there is often a breeze which blows terrestrials into the water and I find them very effective even a ways from shore.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:33 PM
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Default Re: Nymph Fishing In Still Water

What I do depends on the depth of the water, water clarity, and altitude. With a shallow lake or beaver pond at high altitude I'll try dries, especially terrestrials, even if I don't see fish on or near the surface. Those fish are tuned to watch the surface. I'll hang a dropper off that dry, eventually, and I'll try heavy stuff and light stuff for nymphs.

On deeper water I start with streamers, then go to a nymph rig with an indicator and play from deep to shallow, and then, eventually, try a dry dropper for a bit.

In all cases, I cover water by casting out and then stirpping back. With the nymph or dropper I'll strip in a foot or so every now and then, and then let it hang a bit. Rinse and repeat until I need to recast. Every now and then I'll slowly strip a nymph in continuously. I don't worry about dead drifting so much because bugs do twitch and wiggle and change depth in that kind of water.

To be honest, I've always done better on still water when I can sight fish to a target. On the big still waters and rivers I'll wander around a lot looking for fish and so I really rarely prospect blindly any more.
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:47 AM
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Default Re: Nymph Fishing In Still Water

Quote:
Originally Posted by ;627694
To be honest, I've always done better on still water when I can sight fish to a target. On the big still waters and rivers I'll wander around a lot looking for fish and so I really rarely prospect blindly any more.
+1 on that.

I am 100% fishing clear stillwater mountain lakes and sometimes murky ponds. Stillwater is harder to read since it is usually calm and flat; even with the wind blowing you can't really tell the fish holding structure in it especially when you are wading and not fishing from a watercraft with a fishfinder. More water depths to cover and the fish is more scattered.

For stillwater, chironomids are in abundant and they are available all year long. You can use a dropper rig, or use a slip bobber (my 2nd favorite technique).

Brian Chan advices 1 thing and I embrace that advice dearly. Leeches.
1 leech is equal to multiple Chironomids or scuds and very effective in early morning. It is more like offering them donuts instead of raisins for breakfast.
My first leech's trout hook up was after 2 hours of trying the dry fly and dropper techniques. The trouts were swimming 20-30ft away with chironomids and the hoppers right in front and above them but no taker.
I changed it to a leech and first cast Fish On.

I fish the leeches and streamer 90% of the time I don't even know why I have dry flies in my bag. They are easier to cast with/without the beadheads. You can fish them higher, lower or at the bottom of the lake with the same line setup. The hits are like a tug or your line just feels tight.

that's it. that's all I know.
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Old 01-05-2014, 11:31 AM
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Default Re: Nymph Fishing In Still Water

Still water fishing for warm water fish? Strip, strip and strip some more ! You can strip streamers , you can strip nymphs you can even strip dry flys to elicit a strike! There wl be times when panfish and bass are feeding on drys and no movement at all will be necessary . Know your quarry and what they feed on in that particular body of water and go foward from there .
Try night fishing with poppers, Gurglers and dry flys. You can move them a little or a lot depends on what's working.
You have so many options the list is long. Spend some time observing the lake and it's structure at different times of the day. If you look enough it will reveal little secrets about itself over time.
From my experience there is no set way to fish a still water lake and only through observation and trial and error will you figure what's best at any given time !
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Old 01-05-2014, 08:41 PM
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Default Re: Nymph Fishing In Still Water

Stillwater trout is something I pursued very passionately out west. I have fished with both Brian Chan and Denny Rickards and they have very different approaches to fishing Stillwater. Yet theyre both the best in the game. The common denominator is they both understand where the fish are and why. Brian loves to fish imitative patterns and Denny is more of a suggestive fly guy. I blended both their techniques and was eventually able to crack codes on lakes where I had previously been badly stumped, with results beyond my wildest dreams!

One thing Brian taught me that really blew the door open to success on lakes is fishing leeches under an indicator. Theirs times when its so deadly it should be illegal. same goes for fishing Chironomids under indicators. This method is one of few ways one can catch a real monster on a really small fly. (think 10-15# trout on a size 16... google fly fishing Crain Prairie Reservoir)

But, fishing Denny's techniques of seal buggers and Stillwater nymphs on clear intermediate lines is what REALLY made me fall in love and frankly, divorce steelheading. (Google Flyfishing Klamath Lake and you'll see why )

But it all falls back to finding fish. It actually is very elementary. A good rule of thumb to remember is trout only do two things. Theyre either seeking food, or seeking not to become food. It is the quintessential eat or be eaten realm. Finding areas where fish can do both is your first task. To start with, stay in water less than 10' deep. Much more manageable in the beginning. (And holds more trophy fish than any other zone) Look for submerged weed gardens and work the edges. Fish drop offs. Fish areas where the bottom changes colors. Fish as close to the structure as you can. Right above weed beds. Near the bottom along the edges of weed beds. (I am speaking about trout here, I do realize we are in the warmwater forum, but many fish apply to this) When trout are feeding in lakes, they are moving all over. Mostly side to side but up and down too. your percentages will be higher if you keep your fly close to the bottom or right above weed beds. However, a cruising hungry trout will move up in the water column to take food if it sees it and does not feel threatened.
When possible, fish the windward shores. Your intuition is to seek shelter in shores and coves out of the wind. But the wind can be your friend, pushing forage to the windblown side of the lake. Fish will congregate here. The water will also be well oxygenated from the rough surface, creating a high energy, positive fish environment.

Inspect the surface often for signs of bugs. Not dry flies necessarily, but the discarded shucks of hatching aquatic insects. The #1 food source by far in all American lakes is the chironomid. Learn to ID theyre shucks. When you see them in the surface film. Get out your indicator and chironomid patterns and get after em! Clip a forceps to your fly and lower it down to find the bottom. Measure up 1 foot and pin your indicator. Remove the forceps and get your flies down. use a shot or a leech for dropper.
If you see Calibaetis shucks, tie on a hares ear and do the same thing. Be mindful of the size of the shucks youre seeing and match it with your fly.
If you start seeing damsel fly shucks, pick up your phone and call me! I'll be there as fast as I can Damsel migrations are simply magical

I ALWAYS carry two rods on Stillwater. One with a floater and one with a Cortland clear camo. Use the floater for indicator fishing, damsel migrations and subsurface soft hackles (and occasionally dries) and the clear line for plying deeper with buggers and nymphs. If I know I may be plying water more than 12' deep I'll have a 3rd rod with a type III density compensated line. This is extremely rare.

So much more to discuss but you may be asleep by now
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Last edited by jbird; 01-06-2014 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:14 PM
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Default Re: Nymph Fishing In Still Water

You are a lucky to have fished with both of them. I do remember now about fishing the leech with an indicator. I'll try it next year.
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:37 PM
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Default Re: Nymph Fishing In Still Water

When I first started fly fishing this is the only kind of nymphing I did. Use some size 10-12 bead nymphs. Cast as far as you can, this is a great way to work on your casting. Let the nymph settle down to the bottom and then slowly slowly slowly start your retrieve. The nymph will look like its heading to the surface to emerge or hatch. Once you pull it all the way in repeat this process over and over working in a fanned out half circle. Then move on. I can honestly say I have caught a ton of fish of various species doing this. When the strike comes you will feel it because you consantly have pressure on your line. You simply grip the line between the rod and index finger and lift the rod gently and smoothly. Fish on.
Good luck.
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Old 01-07-2014, 08:37 AM
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Default Re: Nymph Fishing In Still Water

My two most productive flies fishing my normal lake are a clouser minnow stripped in or if I'm feeling lazy a San Juan worm egg combo with a heavy bead under an indicator. The largest bass I've caught out of this lake was on the worm egg combo. This fall while fishing it with the combo a couple of bait guys were fishing next to me catching a fish every 10 minutes or so and I was getting one within a minute of every cast.
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