Lake "Theories" ???

I always try and not over think when fishing.

Compare the size of your brain to that of a "hatchery" rainbow trout.

Now do you really want to admit you LOST.
That is a good point. Funny how when when I find myself deep in concentration, fishing as "technical" as I can manage, the fish have a way of reminding me that at the end of the day its just fishing, they are just fish, and I have no idea what I'm doing.

Like when I'm carefully fishing a size 16 mid just off the bottom, with the perfect black and red color, on a 15' leader of hair like fluorocarbon, and the fish try to eat my shiny green indicator.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
All theories considered, I have much better luck figuring out a lake with the aid of my portable sonar unit. It lets me "see" the bottom contours and structure.
I have found holes, dropoffs, rises, and the deeper spots in lakes, as well as creek channels running in from the sides and the old submerged main stem going through the middle of reservoirs or impoundments.
I would not want to have to try to figure out a new lake without my sonar, as it provides so much valuable info.


Active Member
I totally agree with you about the portable sonar Jim. I got one this year because I fish a lot of large reservoirs over here and it makes all the difference. My home water is now less than half the size it was this Spring and is constantly changing. It is also full of fish that were planted in late May and have now grown to 8 to 10 inches. The larger fish are in the prime habitat where most of the food is and the 35,000 little guys are everywhere else (some places they seem to be mixed). Yesterday I found a pod of nice fish in a back bay in 5 to 8 feet of water. They weren't in the shallow water (3 ospreys and 2 eagles) and they weren't out of the bay in the 10 to 15 foot deep water (where they were a couple of weeks ago when the water was warmer). The sonar really helps keep you in the zone on these large lakes. BTW pattern is not making a huge difference now. The fish are aggressive and the cool water has them really filling up for Winter, so I'm just leaving the same fly on my rod at this lake.
I'm far from an expert, but as I spend more and more time focusing on stillwater I find myself coming up with my own theories on why things work the way they do. I tend to be a big believer in finding the fish, finding the right depth, and then to a lesser degree focusing on fly profile- Often times I will find myself catching just as many fish as those around me who are matching the hatch, so to speak, while I'll be throwing my go to leach pattern at the same fish with great success. I tend to focus more on finding fish, and finding the depth that they are keyed in on. After that, I generally find players and don't have to get too darn crazy with fly selection

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
I have one overarching theory about fishing Stillwater - It's a LOT harder than fishing moving water. Unlike moving water where the spots that fish hold are pretty obvious and consistent from stream to stream, lakes are largely featureless and thus offer no immediately obvious suggestions about where fish might be concentrated, what they might be feeding on, or whether there's even fish there at all. That combined with the necessity of having a floatation device of some kind keeps a lot of fishermen away from lakes - which is just fine with me. Personally I love the challenge of fishing a new lake, figuring out where the fish are and how to tempt them. It's a sort of giant puzzle to solve and the prize is a wiggle on the end of my rod.



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I'M right now tying patterns for my trip next week over east - so am going through some "theories" on patterns and water clarity. bakerite informed me that right now there is only 4 to 5 feet visibility in the lake. now from when I fished it in the spring (very clear water) they did not like the white beaded chiro, but in other lakes in the region that had low visibility the fished loved the white bead chiro! I had been tying black and red nymphs and other natural colored nymphs before finding out about the "visibility" now that I have enough natural colored flies tied I now am working on brighter white beaded flies. I found that in two lakes that had super clear water they did not like the white beads and darker beads and nymphs worked much better. now in the low visibility lakes the white bead ruled hooking at least twice as many fish!

My theory is that it is a (being able to see it thing) from a distance more then matching what might be hatching. black being the most visible and white being a close second I am tying red - n - black white beaded chiro's with a sparkle white shinny short tail (shuck) to help them find them better - we will see if I'm right!

what might you think?????


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I started using sulky thread on many of my mids and nymphs this last spring - it seemed to really work. the fish I believe think it is some of the shuck left on the nymph that just emerge from the bottom of the lake and makes it much more visible. I also believe it covers fish looking at the hook bend and point much better - hiding it or not allowing the fish to zero in on the hook as much to "spook"

just theory though!

Here is some tied with the sulky thread and I use them with some of the darker beaded flies I tie also. also a picture of a hatch that happened the last day I was there in the spring telling me black could be a great color regardless of if the hatch happens, at least I know it does happen! the pic of flies you can-not tell how much the sulky thread sparkles but it does and makes a difference for me. it goes on all my chiro's now.

boise la grande trip 158.jpg

boise la grande trip 070.jpg

sulky thread 002.jpg


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Went back to the "home water" today with some crayfish patterns that looked pretty good. The were out of Marv Taylor's book, tied with brown chenille, pheasant tail, brown hackle and a copper rib on size 4 streamer hooks. In the first 15 minutes it caught 3 fish, one that was 18" and fat like the school bus fish. When I went to the back bay the deer hair dragon was still the bug of choice, but the crayfish worked well in the deeper water and only caught the larger fish. Unfortunately I left my "fishin buddy" at home so felt a little blind trying to probe the depths.


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18 incher! you are really trying to get me to fish it again aren't you ;-)~ well its sunday night and I will be heading your way at around 5 in the morn - will give a call and hope you and your son can make it over on friday! I have a bunch of craw patterns too!!!