How do I start on a lake

JobberDun

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Aug 2, 2019
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47
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Essex
Hello all,

I'm new to fly fishing and I thought I would ask for some advice.

If I arrive at a new lake I would normally ask in the shop about what flies are catching, what area of the lake are they catching at and how are they catching them.

So my question is, what do I do if I cannot get an answer to these questions.

Would you start off fishing deep and work your way up in the water, or would you start on the surface and work you way down?

I went fishing at Thornwood Springs last week and Bert told me that they were catching on the surface on one lake, and catching around six feet deep on the other lake!

As a newbie I need all the help I can get.

Thanks in advance.

Russ
 

m r roid

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Feb 25, 2017
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Hi Russ, and welcome to the forum!
I would start fishing high in the water and make my casts in a left/right arc in front of me. If that didn't attract any takes, I would let the fly sink a little deeper and repeat casting in an arc. If I still didn't get any takes I would either change fly, or move to another swim
 

doobrysnatcher

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kitchen
im assuming that your fishing from the bank, or are you in a boat, if from a boat i would bail the water out first
but if fishing from the bank i would usually stop for a moment and see whats hatching are the fish rising and where , what type of rise if any one else is catching id watch them and try to decipher what it is they are doing
if they arent catching i would start at the opposite side of the spectrum as their technique may not be working
so if an angler is catching on a bright line i would also try a bright line also
if he isnt catching with a bright line i would start with a darker line and so on if you know what i mean
observation and location are the imo the keys to a good day
i also agree with mr r roid with the above method if theres no other anglers around
try to get to know whats likely hatching at any particular time of the year /day /season
and try to get familiar with the insects life cycle this may also help especially with fly choice and how to fish them also get well aquainted with your preferred lake before taken the next step to another lake
im going on a bit so ill leave it there for now

if i can dig it out theres a flow chart in one of my books on this if i could only remember where
 
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taffy1

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Well within my comfort zone
Agree with M R Roid. Think of the water in front of you as the face of a clock. Start casting at say 9 o'clock & gradually work your way around to 3 o'clock, if no offers then move to a point where you are beyond the place where your cast landed & start the same procedure. Keep an eye also on the water, sometimes fish will give you a clue as to where they are.
 

BobP

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Wiltshire
On the vast majority of small stillwaters you will need two fly lines. A floater and an intermediate, preferably one that sinks at around 1.5" per second. There are plenty of those around.

By all means check at the fishery to see what flies are being used, but remember that a rainbow trout is a rainbow trout no matter where he is to be found. I've caught rainbows 5000 miles away in a lake in British Columbia using exactly the same flies that I use here so don't get hung up on the idea that you need specific flies for any given water. Many locals who seldom fish anywhere else will insist that only a purple spotted thingy will catch at Boggin's Pool because that is all they use.

Bear in mind what the fish eat. Chironomids are present in the water all year and are the staple diet of trout in stillwaters. A range of sizes in two or three colours is good enough for most occasions. I use a pheasant tail buzzer, a black and a dark olive buzzer in sizes 10 - 16 with the 10's being used in early season and mostly 12's & 14's for the rest of the season. The 16's tend to get used in winter when the buzzers are small and dark.

You will need some of those flies to be weighted. Tungsten beads in a range of sizes and colours can expand the fly collection enormously eg, pheasant tails in 10, 12 & 14 using beads in black, copper and silver in 2.8, 2.4 and 2mm has grown that collection from 3 flies to 27 based around a fly that will catch fish from Land's End to John O' Groats.

I don't use many lures these days, but some damsel fly and montana patterns will usually pull a fish.

- - - Updated - - -

On the vast majority of small stillwaters you will need two fly lines. A floater and an intermediate, preferably one that sinks at around 1.5" per second. There are plenty of those around.

By all means check at the fishery to see what flies are being used, but remember that a rainbow trout is a rainbow trout no matter where he is to be found. I've caught rainbows 5000 miles away in a lake in British Columbia using exactly the same flies that I use here so don't get hung up on the idea that you need specific flies for any given water. Many locals who seldom fish anywhere else will insist that only a purple spotted thingy will catch at Boggin's Pool because that is all they use.

Bear in mind what the fish eat. Chironomids are present in the water all year and are the staple diet of trout in stillwaters. A range of sizes in two or three colours is good enough for most occasions. I use a pheasant tail buzzer, a black and a dark olive buzzer in sizes 10 - 16 with the 10's being used in early season and mostly 12's & 14's for the rest of the season. The 16's tend to get used in winter when the buzzers are small and dark.

You will need some of those flies to be weighted. Tungsten beads in a range of sizes and colours can expand the fly collection enormously eg, pheasant tails in 10, 12 & 14 using beads in black, copper and silver in 2.8, 2.4 and 2mm has grown that collection from 3 flies to 27 based around a fly that will catch fish from Land's End to John O' Groats.

I don't use many lures these days, but some damsel fly and montana patterns will usually pull a fish.
 

easker1

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the lochs up here have wild brown trout, I always fish an Inter, so it is wet all the time, I use invictas as they are sort of sedgey, I use an octopus ( green Body)and a claret bumble,we don't get a lot of hatches so most of the Trout are taking sub surface, I go to the loch side Tackle up and start casting , it seems to work for me, but I have little or no experience of rainbow trout, easker1
 

JobberDun

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47
Location
Essex
Thank you all for your advice. I especially like the flowchart!

I am pleased with myself as today I took my brother-in-law to Thornwood Springs.

This was my second visit and the fishing was harder than the last time I went (roughly two weeks ago).

I started on a floating line using a bite indicator and my fly was at six feet deep. I managed to hook two fish within the first hour, but both came off within ten seconds. Then I managed to catch a Rainbow after moving swims and adding two feet to my depth. I also changed my retrieve, long slow pull with a short pause. Moved again and changed my depth to four feet, and I managed another Rainbow.

Later in the day I changed to an intermediate line with two buzzers on the leader. I haven't tried much fishing with an intermediate line as I find it hard not having something to look at! First cast and I felt a tug on the line, but missed the bite. Third cast and another Rainbow was heading for my net.

So, I do feel like I'm learning fast and I'm happy to change things if I think I need to.

Russ
 

BobP

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Seems to me you're doing OK. Don't forget that when using an intermediate that it is a sinking line and if you retrieve slowly will continue to sink. Do not be shy about using indicators. Most of those who will say you are cheating or float fishing will probably be ripping blobs through the water. You, at least, can say you are putting an imitation of the food the fish are eating in the place where they want to eat it. I've yet to see an adult Blob taking off from the water after hatching out whereas I've seen many thousands of buzzers.
 

draycote flyer

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Coventry(but not sent there)
I’d approach the water the same be it big or small?
Being right handed I’d first op for a left to right wind if possible for ease of casting(not always the fish holding area) but somewhere to start.
If we’re talking ressies then topography can determine fish holding areas depending on time of year/weather.
I’m always looking for signs of insect like from small items like midge upto bigger stuff like damsels, these will help determine what natural food the fish could be on? Bird activity is also a sure fire sign something is coming off/hatching.
Signs of fish moving are always spotted and depending on the rise form! These can give you some more information.
I could go on all night with methods and lines for each and every scenario but the main thing is time on said water and there’s no better way to understand that body of water.

Cheers Craig
 
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