Want to catch more fish? Here are 21 stillwater fly fishing secrets and tips to help you increase your catch rate when fly fishing for trout on stillwaters.
- Use the countdown method
One of the key things you’re trying to do when you’re trout fishing is to find the depth at which the fish are holding. This will change according the light levels, water temperature, wind levels and insect hatches, so you’ll need to use the countdown method throughout your day.
After you’ve cast your flies, give the line a pull to straighten it out and ensure you’ll feel any takes, and then countdown down for 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 seconds to allow your flies to sink through the depths. With each consecutive cast, use a slightly longer countdown before you commence your retrieve to help you find the depth at which the fish are holding.
Start near the surface and work down. Trout look upwards for food. Start with a five second count, then try 10, 15, 20 and 25 until you get some action.
Count your flies down with each cast until you find the feeding depth.
- Watch the fly fishing line at the tip
After and during your cast, always keep your rod tip down so it’s just above the water surface. If you retrieve with your rod up in the air, several feet above the water, any fish which takes your fly gently won’t be felt because it will only move the slack line dangling beneath.
Point your rod tip down all the water through the retrieve and keep a close eye on the line dangling just below the tip. It’s your strike indicator. If a fish takes the fly gently, you will often spot the line move outwards, even if you don’t feel the bite. Lift the rod and you might hook the fish.
The fly line dangling beneath the rod tip is your strike indicator.
- Use the fan casting technique
Most fly fishers have a natural tendency to cast immediately in front of themselves on every spot at which they fish. This means their flies will only be covering a narrow strip of water, and the trout may be somewhere else.
Instead, try to cover the whole area of water in front of you, including the margins on either side. Imagine a grid or fan pattern drawn on the water, and place your casts from as far left as you can go, all the way round the fan until you’ve covered the area to your right.
Once you’ve gone all of the way across the fan from left to right, start again and re-cover the area you fished a few minutes before, perhaps with a different fly, a different retrieve or at a different depth. You’ll greatly increase your chances of finding any fish.
Use the fan casting technique to make sure you cover all of the water in front of you.