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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I don't fish a lot of stillwater but I'm looking at spending more time doing it. I have read Stillwater Strategies, but out of curiosity I would like to hear what some other individuals' go to set-up would be for a new stillwater lake. We all have ways of fishing that we have more confidence in than others so I'd be interested in hearing fly patterns you have a lot of confidence in, the type line you fish, and your preferred way to fish your flies (under a bobber, retrieval patterns etc.)

Thanks in advance!
Cameron
 

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FishyJere
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I take two rods, a floating line and a type 4 sink. You can explore pretty much anything with these. Match a surface hatch, if there is one. I always take a bunch of chironomids to hang, they are the largest single food source in stillwaters. I am into small and will troll/cast small (#12) seal buggers, leeches and #14 nymphs. I have a hand held depth finder and it is invaluable. I look for flats and dropoff areas to explore. I also look for others to chat up. Lastly, luck favors the prepared and I ask around before trying the new lake.
 

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Cam -
Do you have a boat? Pontoon? Float tube? How well equipped are you with fly rods? Lines? Other equipment? Are you using your post to gear up?

I bought and read Stillwater Strategies; lots of great info in there. Mr. Lockhart is a minimalist; I'm quite the opposite. I often have four fly rods in my pram and never go out in my float tube without two rods and a few extra reels or spools so I can cover pretty much everything. Fly boxes - far too many (this is maybe, just maybe, where Mr. Lockhart really does have a strategic leg up, maybe.)

You've been a member for about two weeks. Use the search function; there's enough info on this site to sink a ship.

btw: strike indicator, not BOBBER! Get him Ira!

Have fun and good luck.

Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Buzzy-As far as rods are concerned I feel I am pretty well off; 9ft 6 weight, 10ft 4 weight, and an 8'6" 4 weight. I have a pontoon boat at my disposal (brother's that he doesn't use) as well as my own float tube although I prefer the pontoon. I do not have any full sink lines and from what I understand, the best place to start would be a Sink 4? Which rod would you recommend I equip with this line? You are right about information, I searched and found myself overwhelmed, or in a sinking boat if you will ;), as I had only an idea of the direction I was going although these posts put me in a more specific direction.

Jerry-When you say "hang the chironomids" you are referring to a -strike indicator- (not bobber, ha) correct? If I am fishing two rods I feel it would be simpler not to troll, so would a slow retrieve have the same desired effect?
 

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  1. Type 3 for deeper work, 8-15/20 feet
  2. Type 6 for even deeper work, 15/20'+
  3. Intermediate line (they go by a lot different names these days) for shallower work
  4. Floating line for indicator work, or possibly dry fly/emergence work
If you can, try to get a bathometric map or other basic structure info of the lake(s) you intend to fish. If the lake is mostly shallow, you could probably skip a type 6, and you'll have some idea of what the longest leader you'd need if you were indicator fishing. Consider the season: during the warmest months the fish are likely down deep much of the time.

If it's spring/early summer, I usually always have one rod rigged up with an indicator. The other rod will have a sinking line of some kind, depending on the lake. (And as Buzzy mentioned, spools are along for other options.) If you can learn to love indicator fishing (get some slip/release indicators), you can catch a lot of fish. If that isn't for you, be prepared to use a sinking line of some kind, and preferably multiple options available. A floating line + stripping a fly is one of the least effective ways you can go.

(And even if you don't become a diehard chironomid fisherman, it's not a bad idea to have some familiarity with it. Running leeches or balanced leeches or even nymphs under an indicator can catch you fish.)

I use a lot of 4 weights, mostly because of where I fish and the average size. I've used 3s but it's typically more work than it's worth. (Doesn't handle wind, indicators, or larger flies with any sort of grace). I use 5 wts too. I don't use 6 wts much, but they have their place depending on fish size. I typically try to avoid super-fast rods or super-short rods.
 

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~El Pescador
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my input: intermediate line and buggers. troll - troll and strip - kick and then stop - cast and retrieve (kicking or not kicking).
have out at least 40 feet of line so the line works as it is designed.
clip the barbs on the fly, have pliers or some kind of release tool and a net.
Oh - keep the beer the cold at all costs..
enjoy the scenery around you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
tkww-That is a lot of great info. Thanks! I think I will equip the 10' 4 with a type 3 for starters and see to getting an intermediate line and keep a floating line on the 8'6" for dries. I try not to fish indicators a bunch but I prefer something heavier for fishing them so maybe keep I'll keep the 6 around for that.
dp-simplicity at its finest. I will definitely keep that in mind. For now, I'll dream of the warmer days the spring has to offer.
Thanks for the input!
 

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I'm closer to the Buzzy and tkww side of the gear spectrum than Tim Lockhart but it's certainly fun watching Tim go to work on a lake and have much respect for his approach.

That said, I have a couple kits that I use depending on the lake and my choice of boat. Note that I primarily fish in Central and Eastern WA.

For my tube, I'll carry two rods, a 9' 4 or 5wt with a floater and indicator, and a 9' 5wt with a type 5 sinker. I also carry a spare spool with a midge tip (short clear sink tip) that is handy during big hatches if fish get keyed in to the surface. I'll use the sinker to prospect until I find an area that looks like it's holding a concentration of fish. The reason lots of folks mention indicator setups is because they are so efficient for exploiting concentrations of trout feeding in a certain area or at a specific depth. If I don't have a reason to believe the fish are concentrated, I'll keep fishing my sinking line.

When I use my pram, I'll take 4 or 5 rods. In addition to those mentioned above, I carry a 10' 5wt with long leader (25-30') and indicator for deep presentations, 9' 6wt with full intermediate, and 9' 6wt with a Type 7 sinker. Most days I end up fishing 2 or 3 rods but it's really nice to have all the lines that could come into play rigged and ready.

I find my 4wt is fine in mild winds and with smaller flies. I prefer 5 or 6 wts on most days.
 

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Powerbait Entomologist
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Peg a bead.

Trolling is not my thing. If you really want consistent success grab a depthfinder and find fish, and experiment until you get grabs. Running two flies can be a hassle but will pay dividends, even on silly stocker trout. Find weeds and count your full sink down. Even that's not accurate, so experiment until you feel the grab of weeds (or start catching fish).

Or throw an indicator with a leader that drops your flies right into the weeds. Watching that bobber drop is unbelievably fun.
 
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Peg a bead.

Trolling is not my thing. If you really want consistent success grab a depthfinder and find fish, and experiment until you get grabs. Running two flies can be a hassle but will pay dividends, even on silly stocker trout. Find weeds and count your full sink down. Even that's not accurate, so experiment until you feel the grab of weeds (or start catching fish).

Or throw an indicator with a leader that drops your flies right into the weeds. Watching that bobber drop is unbelievably fun.
I would add two things to this:#1)a clear intermediate line;depending on your patience it allows you to fish any depth you want and fish can't see it.For trolling and/or slow retrieves it keeps your fly in the top 4' of water.Great for fishing scuds and damselfly nymphs.And #2)using this line to hang a chironomid from the rod tip,no indicator;waiting there and then having a fish come along and try to rip the rod out of your hand is twice as much fun as watching the bobber drop.Now that I think about it, fluorocarbon leaders are a real good idea too.Fluorocarbon has the same refractivity index as water and is for all purposes invisible;sinks better too.
 

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I've watched @troutpocket and his compatriot @Irafly do the indicator thing; they get it done. Ira's the guy who will GET IN YOUR FACE (kidding) if you call an indicator a bobber. I mean he's indicator inked for crying out loud.

Back on subject - there's been some hints about leeches and balanced leeches suspended under (quick release) indicators. Can be a seriously effective way to fish.

Also mentioned by @Ian Horning is the count down method with a full sink. Two years ago I found myself on a Central WA lake anchored at the edge of a bucket. A Rickard's seal bugger counted down to the zone was spectacularly effective. @Starman77 is the master at the countdown and retrieve - then there's the whole "retrieve" rate, style, technique......
 

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Cameron, If I am in my pram, I will take 4 rods: one dry line, one dry line for "indicator" fishing ( only because I us a swivel and am to lazy to change the other dry line), an intermediate and one type three full sink. I I'm in the pontoon boat, I take two (only because I'm old and slow and have not figured out how to secure tow extra rods.) That is the basics for me. Depending on the lake (some research needs to be done) I will use 5 or 4 wt. rods. They do the job. Although I fished Davis lake in Or. this summer and a 4 wt. would not have been enough for the trout or the bass. Stillwater fishing is a lot of fun. I'm still learning how to fish lake after twenty years. Have fun.
Gary
 

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Indi Ira
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I am not simplistic. Can I catch 90% of my trout with a type 5 and a seal bugger, yep. But honestly I also want those other 10% of fish. I have found times when the type 7 just gets it done, or the clear intermediate is the tool for the job, heck, I even have an actual hover line now, not just a floater that doesn't float anymore. With all that I am most happy watching an indicator, indicate. One floater can honestly accomplish anything. It can fish on the surface, it can be used with an unweighted fly to fish the film, it can be used with a slightly weighted fly to fish the top foot or so, etc... Ad an indicator to all that and you can honestly effectively fish down to 30'. I'd use that 10' 4wt for your indicator work.

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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Holy smokes! Lots of information and from the sounds of it (and no battle royales being started in the comments) all of it seems like it is worth giving a try. After chewing on the info I think I'll buy two lines to start with as I'm a broke college student without the funds (or initiative to rob a bank) to purchase all that were offered. The lines I'm thinking will be a intermediate for the 10' 4wt and a sink 3 for the 9' 6wt. They'll be put on extra spools and the floaters will come with as well. I GREATLY appreciate all of the input. If I would have started here I think I could have skipped the book ;) Thanks again everyone.
 

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Holy smokes! Lots of information and from the sounds of it (and no battle royales being started in the comments) all of it seems like it is worth giving a try. After chewing on the info I think I'll buy two lines to start with as I'm a broke college student without the funds (or initiative to rob a bank) to purchase all that were offered. The lines I'm thinking will be a intermediate for the 10' 4wt and a sink 3 for the 9' 6wt. They'll be put on extra spools and the floaters will come with as well. I GREATLY appreciate all of the input. If I would have started here I think I could have skipped the book ;) Thanks again everyone.
Good plan.I go with two rods,a 10' for the indicator fishing and a 9' for the other kinds.Both are 6 wt. because you never know when you'll get into big fish and it pays not to be outgunned.Also like going with the spare spools even though it can be a bit of a hassle changing over.That way you can acquire other lines over time without having to buy new equipment(rods,reels,etc.)every time you want to try new techniques,of which you can see there are many.Give yourself time to learn and I think you'll find still waters a fun way to fish.I would also say that a fish finder is just as important as any other piece of gear.Knowing where the fish are and where the bottom is is crucial information for success.Good luck.
 

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The lines I'm thinking will be a intermediate for the 10' 4wt and a sink 3 for the 9' 6wt. They'll be put on extra spools and the floaters will come with as well.
Not trying to make this complicated for you, but if you're going to go with two sinkers, I'd be tempted to say you'd get more use out of a type 2 and a say a type 4 or 5. The type 2 is going to pull you down a little quicker, but conversely if you have to fish 15-20' down--and I think you'll find that's not as uncommon as you imagine--something heavier than a 3 will serve you well. Again, not trying to make it complicated, but I think a F / 2 / 5 would be much more versatile than a F / I(1) / 3. Unless you know you're going to be only in shallow lakes.... But, that set-up does leaving you just needing to ad a 6 or 7 on down the road and you'll have the a great range. I dunno, just my thoughts.

I'll throw this in too. Rio makes some sinkers in their Mainstream series. I'm not in love with their coatings, though I've had decent luck with their sinking lines. They're decent lines at $40 or $45 instead of $80+. I think they only make type 3 and type 6. I ended up getting them because no one seemed to want to make sinkers in 4 wts, and I wanted a fully-outfitted 4 wt set-up.

Do note these don't come with welded tips. If you want loops in the ends and can't add your own (or know someone who can), you may need to pony up for high-end lines. Though with sinkers you can get away with nail-knotting in a permanent mono loop to the tip because you're almost always using short leaders and therefor rarely have to deal with the knot/loop hitting and hanging up on the guides when landing fish.
 

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Outta Here
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A poor college student, who refuses to rob banks, would benefit in equipping his leaders with tippet rings. Lets a tapered leader butt last a very long time, and provides fast and easy tippet change out for maximum terminal rig flexibility with a limited line/rod inventory.

Go to stillwater set-up? Two rods, one rigged with floating line, the other with clear intermediate. I generally find the intermediate line most productive.
 

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Powerbait Entomologist
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Go to stillwater set-up? Two rods, one rigged with floating line, the other with clear intermediate. I generally find the intermediate line most productive.
This is typically what I carry. I have the addition of a type 3 (will probably get a T5 when it breaks, it's getting old). The floating line is a superb choice for all-around versatility... you can throw indicators, which is the go-to way to rail fish for many guys here, you can throw streamers and nymphs with a 10-15 foot clear intermediate leader, or throw emergers and dries.

Casting indicator rigs can be a pain in the butt, however I like knowing exactly where my flies are at in the water column. I like to be in control of as many variables as I can, so if you know that there are fish around and your flies are at the proper depth, you can mix it up until you find what they're willing to hit.
 

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Dumbfounded
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These days, I only fish stillwaters and have for decades. Compared to the other guys, my approach is quite simple.

I use a SuperCat small size pontoon boat. I fish with one rod at a time and that is usually a 4 weight. If I'm fishing stillwater that also holds steelhead, I'll use a 5 weight.

My primarily lines are a floating line, an intermediate sinking clear line and two different sink rates for full fast sinking lines. It's a toss up between the clear line and full fast sinking lines as to the one I use the most. The floating line is for fishing hatches or indicators.

I have an old style Fishin' Buddy 120 I use to determine where the fish are holding. This helps me determine which sinking line to use when the trout are nowhere near the surface. I use the type 7 sinking line when the fish are holding near the bottom.

I prefer using fluoro for my tippet material and will use long leaders for fishing subsurface. And when I say long leader/tippet, I mean 20 feet or more. The length of the leader/tippet is paramount to catching fish subsurface.

When it comes to indicator fishing, I use them when nothing else is working. Actually, I use whatever helps me catch fish so I'm not dedicated to any technique. Usually my sinking lines will do the trick so most of the trout are catch are with one of the sinking lines.

The vast majority of trout I catch are with WBs and leech patterns.

I also fish for bass in stillwaters and that requires completely different lines and rods so I won't get into that now.

These patterns have worked the most consistently for me over the years:

Blue Line Terrestrial plant Electric blue Sky


Blue Artificial fly Insect Arthropod Pollinator


Blue Arthropod Sky Insect Line


Blue Insect Arthropod Pollinator Pest

(in black, olive, red or tan)

Blue Sky Azure Artificial fly Insect


Blue Azure Artificial fly Twig Feather


Artificial fly Blue Sky Terrestrial plant Bait

(in black, brown, olive, wine)

Sky Blue Azure Insect Arthropod

(most consistent fish-catcher)
 
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