A report with a few questions


Ignored Member
Fish a small lake this morning. Clear blue skies, surface water temp was 59 degrees, no wind to speak of. Started early casting small (8,10) green Carey Specials with floater on 3 weight towards shore over sunk logs and put a couple of fish on the line. Bite stopped after sun got on the water so switched to the 4 weight, a type III tip with a black leech pattern and dragged bottom about 14 feet deep. This also brought a few to hand. Noticed a small midge hatch so back to the 3 weight, floater, and switched up flies ending with an emerger which again started producing. All in all got about 10 fish this morning largest around 17 inches with most in the 14 inch range.

Now the question for you lake experts. When I was dragging bottom with the leech I had 2 fish swallow the fly deep enough I had to leave the fly in the fish. The other couple of fish hooked with the leech took the fly deep but I was able to remove the fly successfully. Fly was slowly twitched along the bottom. Why was this fly and method taken so deeply?
Kerry, I fish lakes a lot, far from a 'stillwater' expert. Started fishing 'deep'[ 35-50' ]on a few lakes[Lost and RSnake] and have the same experience. Usually fishing that deep I troll very slowly. When I would do the same as topwater fishing when I got a bump[pause...slight twitch] I would get a lot of fish that 'inhaled the fly'.....I use that word because I believe that's what they are doing. Had to cut off a lot of expensive flys and probably not that great for the fish either! So I changed tactics...couple good twitches, no pause and speed up a little...either got a hookup or nothing. NOW, knowing the fish is still right there and it's 'nothing', one more thing: sorry ladies but it's time for the 'bitch slap'!! I didn't name or invent it....but it works: pretty much flailing the rod from shoulder heigth to the water a few times[ I think it imitates a wounded meal] and then pick up speed a little or start retrieving. So, after all that BS, I think after a bump, pick up speed a little!! Interesting sidenote this AM: caught a nice 'trip' at Rattlesnake, hooked in the lower jaw, with the point of the hook facing downwards and the eye of the fly kinda pinned against it's tongue...don't think I've ever seen that!?


Active Member
I had the same problem at Lenice a couple of years ago. I started tying some of my flies on Mustad circle hooks and the fish are hooked almost always in the corner of the mouth. I bought them in size 10 and size 4. If you don't tie your own, maybe one of your buddies will tie some for you, if you can supply the hooks. SS


screw work lets fish
I'm not a stillwater expert by any means but when I add a cheaper sinking line I feel the big belly in the line made it so I didnt feel the take as soon as the fish took the fly which allowed them to swallow the fly.I bought a Rio sinking line that sink at a more uniform rate(tip first,more of a straght line)I haven't had that happen since.


Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
I think sportsman nailed the problem. With your slow twitch, and with perhaps some belly in your line, the trout can ease up and inhale your fly before you feel it. This has happened to me, after a soft "bump," whereupon I paused my retrieve, and then felt the fish again during the pause.
I had to leave a fly in the gullet of a stocked 'bow the other day, because I cast, set my rod down to dig a beer out of the cooler, and then felt a trout on when I tightened up my line. It had nearly swallowed the fly on the end of my slack line.
With the fly moving a little faster, maybe the trout has to take a flying grab at it.

The "big, fast strip" method, with very brief pauses between the strips, has often done the trick.
Cutthroatking made a great point on Density Compensated lines: it's been about 5 years since I started using these type of lines: first the SA Mastery Uniform Sink+ and last year switched to RIOS 'Lake' series lines. Hookup rate goes way up eith these lines.


Ignored Member
Thanks for the replies and what you say about full sinking lines may be true but I was using a 15 foot sink tip. The deepest hole in the lake I was fishing is only about 17 feet.
Since I'm guessing, I'll say that the cause is that the fish are fairly aggressive. When I see this deep swallow in other species, it usually means that the fish is moving quickly to eat what it sees as food or is swallowing the bait (seldom artificials). My guess is that the leech-type fly, slow speed, deeper water (and probably less pressured fish) all combine to make the fish confident that what they see is food. Then they take the big gulp..

The circle hook might be a good idea for this application, but you have to keep yourself from setting the hook. You simply tighten up and play the fish.
My guess would be that it's because of the bow in the line. I think a couple of my friends were fishing the same lake this morning. They didn't do as well as you, only a couple planters and a couple holdovers.


Geriatric Skagit Swinger
I suspect the problem may be due in part to the fact that these fish are freshly planted and don't yet know how to properly take a fly...after all, those food pellets they're accustomed to don't get much twitchin' and strippin' applied to them.

Either that or you just suck. :)
My guess is that the fish had been feeding heavily on chironomids or bloodworms , before taking your leech . I`ve had the same thing happen while fishing leeches just after a big chironomid hatch . I asked Brian Chan about this ,and he said that the fish need a more substantial meal , but are relaxed , and take anything slow easy , and deep .