5 Tips to Improve Your Stillwater Fly Fishing!

If you caught trout 8 out of 10 fly fishing days, would you be happy? That is my initial question to you. If your answer is yes, read on, I have some very good news.

If your answer is I already catch that number of times, great, well done. Perhaps now it’s time to consider if you want to take it further or are you happy where you are?

Very simply, by focussing on a very few key points and executing them well, you can achieve that goal of consistent success surprisingly quickly and have fun!

Where many of us go wrong is just getting too excited. If we’ve not fished for a while, it’s easy to anticipate the coming of a fishing day. Very often this leads us to rush and start too quickly. Note I have omitted the word “fishing” from the previous sentence, that’s because we are more likely to be “fish scaring”. To start stepping past this, here are my key points for rapid progress: –

  1. Respect: – Trout reared on a farm and introduced to lakes are not stupid, they are just naive when initially stocked. They adapt to evade anglers fast as a wild fish does. Respect your quarry, it will give your fishing purpose. Without it consider asking yourself “why am I here?”. We are supposed to be having fun!
  2. Find Them or Forget It: – Spend time on arrival observing the water. Walk the water if you don’t know it well, looking for “fishy” spots and signs of feeding fish. Choose vantage points that maximise your view to speed up the process. Ensure you take time with this step, your ability to locate feeding fish is the most important factor in catching trout. This process is harder in lakes than rivers as many of the signs are more subtle, leading to the mistake of seeing lake fly fishing as chuck it and chance luck. Know it is not! It just has some different skill sets to river fishing as well as many commonalities.
  3. Casting: – The most frustrating thing in fly fishing is to know exactly where trout are feeding, how to catch them and be unable to put your fly where it needs to be. I remember going through this and having tried various solutions can advise you definitively, your fastest route is book a casting review with an instructor. You should come away with a plan to improve. Then crucially, practice! It will surprise you how fast your rate of progress is and how little time it takes. Making the effort to do this enables you to focus on fishing when waterside, casting is in the bag!
  4. Presentation: – Points 2 & 3 feed into this. Observation enables you to make better decisions on equipment you need and assembly to fish appropriate techniques. Casting enables you to put a fly on the trouts diner plate, preferably without it knowing you put it there! This maximises your chance of receiving a take, it also needs to maximise bite detection, otherwise it’s pointless.Time spent with successful stillwater fly fishers willing and able to impart tactical advise waterside is priceless here. For example, lowering your rod tip could quadruple your hook ups!
  5. The Head Game: – Competence breeds confidence, it’s as simple as that. Focus on the above key areas of your lake fly fishing and track your progress, it’s great fun. Take every opportunity to learn more. There are learning resources in multiple formats everywhere, so seek them out and see what works for you.

I provide coaching options for clients in both on the water and digital formats should you want help with this process. Simply drop me a line to discuss your requirements.

Best fishes & have fun!

Steve Yeomans

Midlands Fly Fishing

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