Fishing small stillwaters

tangled

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Joined
Dec 28, 2015
Messages
4,860
Is your water catch and release (C&R)?

Small C&R lakes can get very hard because the fish see an awful lot on flies, lines and anglers. My club stocks in spring and autumn and catch rates skyrocket for the following month. Just before restocking you're lucky if you don't blank. In summer I reckon I'm averaging between 1 and 2 fish in a 4 hour stretch - and that's above average.

You'll get a lot of advice and it all comes from a good place. I'd just say keep changing. Everything. The definition of madness is repeating the same action while expecting a different result. Move, go larger, go smaller, dry, wet, nymphs lures, top, middle deep etc etc. But give each method a fair chance.
 

Hardrar

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Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
632
Location
North Yorkshire
I fish small still waters over Winter and only ever use two flies, that are embarrassingly good.
I will often get jibes from fellow anglers like “ what’s he using? a trawl net!” Which can be awkward when they’ve skunked and I’m pulling 5/6 fish an hour.
I’ve fished a lot of difficult becks and rivers for years, which helps with presentation and casting. I use fast glass 8 foot #3-5 rods and 2.5 pound tippet (thicker won’t go through the hook eyes) off a 9’ Kamoufil 16lb leader bonded into the fly line. Join tippet to leader with a 1mm tippet ring.
I always play fish off the reel and let them run.
I tie all my own flies and gather my own materials. I use either a black cdc Midge pattern or a black midge larvae with olive rib. Size 16 to 28 on Partridge spider or Kamasan B160 wide gape hooks with the points kirbed.
The dry pattern uses black thread, crows wing herl for the body and fine natural dark cdc.tied a la F-Fly.I don’t tie off at the head, but at the tail sealed with a little deer creek uv resin..This keeps everything in proportion.
I’ve tried different body material- wood pigeon wing feather and Heron wing feather works ok in Summer, but Carrion crow primary wing feathers, have some some sort of magical properties which maybe that air is trapped in the herl at the surface?
Takes can be savage and Trout often clear the water with the fly.
Using glass rods enable me to safely fish fine, even softish carbon rods tend to bump fish off on tiny flies and fine tippets-never with glass and yet with the fast taper I can cast a whole line off if needed with very little work.
Stillwater trout especially at cnr waters soon get educated, so you have to fish really fine, which also means you have a chance with the older fitter specimens.
this one ran me to the backing and took 5-6 foot of air twice last week. It had well mended fins, so had been in the water for a long while. Had half a dozen more in a couple of hours and missed three offers.
The fish was taken for the table, as first fish has to be kept- they are always good eating.
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Just the buzzer

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Mar 18, 2018
Messages
66
Location
Lanarkshire
I generally find that a floating line is all I’ve ever needed on small still waters, on the top flies or just sub surface , 6 or 7lb leaders usually are enough although a lot go for 8lbs to be safe .

Although I was told by a very good fisherman many years ago that presentation should be the first priority, then try plenty different fly patterns to see if you get interest from any fish at all.

Remember sometimes your doing nothing wrong but it’s just not your day
 

Hardrar

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
632
Location
North Yorkshire
I generally find that a floating line is all I’ve ever needed on small still waters, on the top flies or just sub surface , 6 or 7lb leaders usually are enough although a lot go for 8lbs to be safe .

Although I was told by a very good fisherman many years ago that presentation should be the first priority, then try plenty different fly patterns to see if you get interest from any fish at all.

Remember sometimes your doing nothing wrong but it’s just not your day
Above on sub 3 pound Tippet, drag set light and CTS #5, handbuilt rod. If you fish anything more than 3.6lb you’re going to be skunked every day- here, they are too well educated- my biggest fish from this venue was over 19 lbs, a few years back, but they don’t stock anything much above 5 now. I used to needle Knot a 5 inch length of power gum into my fly lines, with a loop in the leader end (loops could be pulled very neat and tight). - then loop to loop with leader.
Carp men use this so they can use light running line and tippets on educated specimens that are heavily pressured. I would fish 2 pound tippets and could net double figure trout and Carp without break offs or hooks pulling out.
My cdc pattern has never seen a blank day in 30 years- I give loads away to frustrated anglers. I had a 3.6 pound Grayling on a size 18 a few years back, I will even use it at peak Mayfly time.
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