Still Water Solutions - Fly Fishing NZ

Alex got in touch with me recently seeking some help with his still water fly fishing techniques...

"Hi Chris,

Have been fishing the lake edges quite a bit lately and having a bit of success on everything from dragonflies to damsels to stimulators and hares ear emergers and these have been faster more actively moving / feeding fish. But have also noticed a lot of the fish cruising slowly with their noses pointed downwards looking at the bottom, especially over the sand. Have you got any idea what they are looking for / eating? Have tried pheasant tails in #18, bloodworms, snails in #18 with no luck - quite often they will come right in and look at it / circle but no eat. Any advice would be much appreciated. These blog entries and articles are excellent by the way. Cheers



PHOTO: Stu Hastie


Hey Alex. Are you retrieving these flies? In bright / calm conditions I find fish often shy away from moving flies. Instead I often try and drop a lightly weighted pattern in their path, far enough ahead so not to spook them but close enough that they cruise in on a slowly sinking fly. The other option is sitting it static on the streambed and imparting a minute twitch as they approach, or suspending it just above the bottom under a wee dry.

Here's five tips to help your still water fly fishing:

  1. Drop down in tippet size if you haven’t already, and use Loon Snake River Mud to dull any shine, particularly on bright days. It does make a difference!
  2. Choose a soft hackled pattern / version of your flies. Your patterns sound on the $ but maybe they lack the impression of life to keep them interested?
  3. Try a weighted pattern sitting on the streambed with a short dropper leading to a foam backed pattern? This will suspend just above the bed and a twitch of the line will make this point fly dive, rather than lift? A small snail, pheasant tail type or chironomid would work well tied this way
  4. Fish an Airflo Clear Camo Intermediate. It will change the angle of your retrieve as well as eliminate any line shadow
  5. Just throw them a woolly bugger, you know they’ll eat it

Hope this helps!

PHOTO: Kyle Adams