Stillwater fly fishing has some of the same qualities that attract us to fly fishing rivers and streams. Every day can be a very different experience. New challenges arise every time out. Conditions change with different seasons having their own demands on reading the water, finding fish, and using good technique. But stillwater fishing has its own spin on these qualities. Float tube fly fishing on Catamount or Spinney reservoirs can expand your opportunities and grow your fly fishing adventure.
“Lakes and reservoirs have their own ecosystems that change almost daily,” Kenny Romero, Angler’s Covey resident stillwater expert, says. “Fish move into different parts of the reservoir as conditions change” – which means a stillwater fly fisher has different environments to explore each time out. Float tubes give an angler greater access to different parts of the lake or reservoir that they can’t experience from the bank.
Kenny says he remembers his first time out on a float tube. “I went in circles!” One of Kenny’s goals for the float tube fundamental class is that participants get comfortable in a float tube. “We’ll get into fish, but I want people to feel comfortable, to be able to maneuver to different parts of the reservoir, and to feel confident in casting different rigs they’ll learn in the class.”
“You enter into a totally new world with float tubing.”
The Stillwater Float Tube Fundamental class, which will be June 20th on Catamount Reservoir on Pikes Peak’s North Slope, will focus on a handful of goals.
Boat Safety. For starters, participants will learn about basic boat safety which includes gear (Personal Floatation Devices) and apparel. “You can’t have any uncovered skin. So pant waders work because you only get wet up to your knees. “ In addition to waders, anglers will need flippers and some warm upper-body apparel.
Technique. “We’ll first get acclimated to technique with two different rigs.” Kenny will introduce anglers to preparing a strike indicator rig as well as a streamer set up. They’ll learn both sinking and floating line rigs. “Stillwater, like river fishing, relies on the three elements to ‘trick the trout’: right presentation, right depth, and the right fly.” Whether you’re nymphing or using streamers, both techniques call for different strategies when it comes to the retrieve.
Sight fishing and dry flies. “Contrary to some beliefs, you can still use dry flies and sight fish on reservoirs. During a caddis hatch – cast to the ring. Fish stay in areas and you’d be amazed at the dry fly fishing when a hatch is going on.” Kenny also will discuss the behavior of different bugs when they are on a lake or a reservoir. Their behavior becomes more apparent on stillwater than might be noticeable on moving water and the difference between bugs become clearer. “Caddis skate and skitter across the water. With Callibaetis, it’s more like a dance. They bounce up and down off the surface as they move.”
Fly selection. Participants will learn about hatches and fly patterns to use on our local stillwaters.
Chironomid hatch. These are large bugs moving up very slowly from the bottom. Fish these patterns deep, even to the bottom. The chironomid hatch has begun and will continue through June.
Streamers. Wooly buggers on full sinking line are most productive.
Dry flies. Use a large #12 caddis and drop a #22 Hare’s Ear or Pheasant Tail off that.
Other equipment includes what you probably already own: A 5 weight rod. 3x or 4x leaders. 4x tippet for nymphing. 3x if you’re using a streamer.
Oh and what about the fish? “These are energetic, strong, lively fish. You’ll get acrobatics. You’ll have long battles with these fish. A 22” or 24” rainbow will take you into your backing.”
Expand your adventure and register for the Float Tube Fundamentals class here.
Orvis 101 Introduction to Fly Fishing
Early season stillwater Fundamentals-Classroom