When the fishing seems dead...


Indi "Ira" Jones
I caught some of those Blackwaters at East as well. While working with Phil Rowley at the fly show he told me that the booby fly works well on them because of their aggressive nature.

Now as for witnessing takes in clear water with no visible take on an indicator, I've witnessed the same in much shallower water, from 15' up to 2' deep. Same observation without the visible take. The first time I witnessed it was at Rocky Ford while fishing an unweighted and unindicatored nymph years ago. I would watch fish open their mouths take in the fly and spit it back out again faster than I could respond without ever feeling the take. This was fishing with less than 4' of line out of the rod and a max of 9' of leader. I know that fish sometimes just take the fly, regardless of what we do, without us ever noticing.

I like the extra buoyancy of the larger indicators even in the wind, because they provide an extra bounce to the fly. They are also once again easier for me anyway to see and detect smaller changes in larger waves and aren't "lost" in wave sets. Lastly I like to make sure that my indicators are two tone versus single tone. This again allows for the ability to detect subtler changes.


Active Member
Ira, my long time fishing buddy, Jim is with you on the bobber size and for all the same reasons you mentioned.

I like the idea of a two-tone bobber but I like Rowley (or similar) style bobbers and I never knew where to get them two-tone. If those are available I would like to try them.

you know, i had a similar situation last month at a favorite spring time lake. a friend and i were camped out, we fished a flat that always produces and the water is clear so we could see the fish were feeding. Usually fishing is lights out when this happens but it wasnt for both days we were there. Went back a week or two later with 2 friends and had my personal best day on the lake. the main difference between the two trips was the second one there were steady clouds and a decent chop on and off, while the first trip the weather was sunny both days with minimal chop.

There are so many variables you really never know what affects the bite, i always seem to record details from both really good, and really bad trips to compare and contrast so you can adjust for future trips. Ive had days where the fish were eating tons of chironomids but our flies just weren't getting bit. i use to think if the fish were eating the real thing and you had proven flies at the right depth you would get fish, but that isn't always the case. Ive been fortunate enough to observe fish in super clear water watching my flies and how they react. you would be surprised at how often a fish will stare at your fly before leaving or eating it, and how many will refuse before you actually get a take.another observation i made is movement is VERY important. i would let the flies sit in the water when the surface was flat and the fish would often swim up and stare at the fly, maybe nip it lightly, and swim away, and when i slowly twitched the chironomids the fish would attack the pattern hard! so having chop is always a bonus so you dont have to "twitch" your flies to add movement.

ive only been fly fishing stillwaters for 2 years now but what i realized pretty quick is attention to detail can really give you some surprise answers and help you out in the future.

remember even the little things might give you a clue to the asnwer you are seeking.