Go to Stillwater Set-up for New Water


Active Member
2 rod set up. Sink tip with a olive and black beadhead micro leech. Floater with a black with red rib chironomid size 14 or 16 under an indicator. Start off in about 12 ft of water with your indi set for 10ft. Lok for bays, points, shoals, and dropoffs. Move aound till you find fish.
Throat pump first couple of fish to further narrow down your fly selection. This is assuming there is not an obvious hatch going on.

I to have had no problems catching fish with short leaders on sinking lines. Fishing is like golf. It's an individual sport. The fun part is discovering what works for you. Gene those Turbo leeches Rock! Anyway have Fun with the discovery!


Active Member
As for patterns, look at tying or looking to buy some jig style flies. These can be fished under indicators, but they can also be used extremely effectively as trolling patterns.
Ditto this. I had a lot of success over the last season fishing balanced leeches/minnows. Work well under an indicator, but also when stripped.
I also carry two rods for fishing still waters (that's all I fish.) One is set up for an intermediate sink and the other for a faster sink for when I want to go deep. I have tried floating lines and dry flies a few times but it's not for me. Nothing against it and many others here prefer it and are great at it, it's just not my cup of tea.
I fish the same fly day in and day out on any lake I go to, at least 99 percent of the time. I've never had nearly the luck with anything else in the past and don't even try any more, the if it aint broke don't fix it strategy works for me. Granted, I only get out on the water 6 - 10 times a season and usually more towards the beginning of it, so my time getting to fish is limited. I've had everywhere from a couple of fish in a couple of hours to 70+ fish days doing this.
Jumping in really late here - but I really like this post and learning what other Stillwater guys approaches are. I am 95% Stillwater/Trout guy for over 25+ years - I have never really fished moving water much and I am not good at it.

I was fishing Stillwater before many years Denny Rickards came out with his book in ~1998 called "Fly-Fishing Stillwater for Trophy Trout" but got the book for X-mas that year and I learned A LOT from it and I have basically used his techniques, suggestions, and flies exclusively.

I do own a Outcast Fat Cat Float Tube - very convenient except to pee, and Pontoon Boat (without a motor), and a lot of my family & friends have 12 foot boats that I fish from as well. I prefer the Pontoon Boat, but it depends on the situation. I prefer fishing from the Fat Cat & the Pontoon Boat for their convenience, cost, and just because I have more control when fishing and since I am "manually" powering the boat and I have the rod in my hand the full time so I feel everything that is going on at the end of my line.

I am a minimalist. I just own two rods - 9 ft 5 weight and a 9 ft 6 weight and I just string up one rod most of the time. Sometimes when I am in a boat I will string up two, one with a sinking line and other with floating, when there is possibility of getting into some dry fly action.

The lines that I own is (in order of preference):

1 - Intermediate Line - The original SA Stillwater Camo line that Denny originally recommended. Good line for me - does a have a bit of coil problem when cold and I have heard that it sinks more than a true intermediate line - but this has been a very successful line for me.

2- Type III sink line
3 - Type V sink line
4- Floating line - In case there are dry fly opportunities - not for indicator fishing

All of my reels are SA Type Model 56L with all the above fly lines on the the SA spools. When I arrive at the lake - I will always start with the Intermediate Line or the Type III all depending on the depth that I want to target or if I am at a lake that I have fished before - whichever line worked before and the time of the plays a significant role on which line I use. Since I only use one rod - I don't spend a lot of time switching out lines when I am actively fishing. If the fishing is slow and I believe that a line switch will improve the fishing - I will often wait until lunch or pee break to switch out the spool/line . This is the disadvantage of being a minimalist, but I have caught enough fish in my lifetime that urgency isn't a priority. Of course when I am in boat - I will be a bit more liberal in changing the spool/line if needed.

9 to 10 leaders - most of the time with 3x tippet - sometimes 4x. Rarely I will go down to 5x but no lower.

I fish subsurface about 95% of the time as well. I primarily use Rickard's flies - Seal Buggers, Stillwater Nymphs, and Denny's Callibaetis Nymph are my favorites. But I also use different type of damsel patterns, leech patterns as well. Sheep Creek Specials are a favorite of mine (especially when I am fishing Sheep Creek Reservoir :)) and Carey Specials.

I have not mentioned indicators or chironomids - not a big fan of either - but know they are super effective. There is no question that chironomids are the majority of a trouts diet - but fishing chironomids is not all that appealing to me. Per another post that I made a few months ago on this - I do want to try full sinking line deep water chironomid method and I am about to purchase an AirFlow Type 5 line to add to my arsenal so I have something to use when the fish are keyed on so much on chironomids - looking forward to giving this method a try this Spring.

I do have a fish/depth finder but not required. I use on my Pontoon boat but not the Fat Cat.

One must have that I find valuable that has really helped me recently is a nice pair of polarized sunglasses. Besides the obvious protection from sun/glare - it is really helpful when fishing fairly shallow areas to see the bottom and look for those drop offs and seams that trout tend to favor.