Lake fishing is one of the most surreal fishing experiences ever. No matter what the season is, lake fishing is always fun and yields something new.
As a fly angler, I have plenty of experience in fishing bass, pike, panfish, and more. But lake fly fishing is always different and challenging for me and pretty much every angler.
However, fly fishing for trout in a lake is a whole different level. Have you been trout fly fishing only in rivers? Then it is time for you to explore the fun and thrill of trout fishing in lakes.
Here I will give you all the necessary information to know how to fly fish for trout in a lake. Before we start with how to fly fish for trout, let us rewind a little on fly fishing first.
How to fly fish for trout in a lake?
The prime concept of fly fishing is to use a lightweight artificial fly as the lure. This form of fishing is done in both fresh and saltwater.
The gears used are flying rod, reel, and weighted line. As fly fishing uses light lures/ flies, the casting is different than other fishing types. This technique makes it different.
Fly fishing line setup:
As you know, in the usual fishing setup, there is only one line. This one line covers the full rod to the hook. However, the setup of fly fishing is a bit different from the conventional fishing setup. Because:
- As I have already said, fly fishing uses only an incredibly lightweight fly as the bait. So, there is no weight on the end of the line. And as you know, it is impossible to make a distant cast without weight.
The only source of weight here is the fishing line itself. That is why the lines used in fly fishing are a lot thicker.
- The prime technique of fly fishing lies in throwing the bait on the water without making the fish realize it is attached to anything. It is where the role of the Leader and the Tippet comes in.
It fills up the reel (the Arbor). The backing provides extra length for a longer fish run.
The backing is often thick and vividly colored to make it easy to see on the water. It is the longest portion of the line.
It is the transition between the fly line and the Tippet. Fly line is thick so, it may slip onto the water and scare the fish. The Leader prevents it and is almost invisible to the fish.
The leader starts thick to match the line and then reduces to a much smaller matching the Tippet. It is generally about 9-10 feet.
It acts as a junction between the fly and the leader. It attaches to the fly at one end, to the leader on the other.
It is nearly invisible in the water. The Tippet projects the fly without showing the fish any trace of the line. The trick is finding the strong yet hard to see tippet.
Flies play the most vital role in fly fishing. So, you should know about the best trout flies to find the flies, which are worth getting for your next fly fishing adventure.
There are three fly varieties to consider:
- The Dry Fly: These flies are not the best option for large trouts as they stay deep into the water. However, if you are fishing Trouts rising on the surface, then it is the best option. It is fun to lure a rainbow trout on the surface of the lake with a dry fly and reeling them in.
- The Nymph: Nymph is the name of the stage of an insect’s life when it stays underwater. So, as the name, Nymph refers, these flies drop under the surface of the water.
Trouts take these insects as food. So, you can attract the lake trouts posing these flies as their foods.
- The Streamers: It is the go-to fly for many anglers. Their size is also larger than the other two flies. They have long bits of material that wave in the water.
These bits create a living impression that attracts the Trouts. As the trouts assume it is a living insect, they bite with full force.
The size you choose depends on the depth of the water. If you are fishing on shallow water, then small/medium-sized streamers are perfect. For a deeper lake, choose a heavier streamer to get it down to deeper depths.
Streamers are further broke into three categories:
- Baitfish: It mimics life fish in the environment.
- Leech pattern: Mimics leeches.
- Sculpin: Found in most freshwater aquatic ecosystems.
Trout is a wide range of species. So, many of them are found in the river. Species like Tiger, Rainbow, Brown, Brook, Cutthroat, and many more are available in the lake.
However, there is a particular species called Lake Trout, which originated in Canada. However, they have been introduced to other water bodies as well.
Their body is full of white spots. So, they are easily distinguished. They also have a white belly and white edging on the fins. They can be 24-36 inches in length.
How to fly fish for trout in a lake:
Lake fishing is different from river or sea fishing. Generally, because of the still water.
So, no matter which species of Trout you are targeting, it can get a bit tricky and challenging in the lake.
You have to be careful about the fly’s movement against the water flowing the fly to tempt the Lake Trout to take it.
The geographical location and surrounding of a lake are different from the river or sea. So, many anglers prefer using a boat.
There are some naturals things about a lake to check before fly fishing for lake trout.
Though there are no perfect fly fishing lakes, lake trouts have some perfect lake temperature and slot. Their favorite temperature is 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. It is not so warm, not so cold, the perfect temperature for Trouts.
It is better to carry a thermometer for you when you are out trout fishing in the lake. Paddle around the lake to find the perfect spot at this temperature.
You can divide the depth of the lake into four parts. The shoreline, shoal, drop-off, and deep water. From left to right, it gets deeper.
The shoreline is the perfect place to look for in the morning and evening. It is where the Lake Trouts feed most of the time of the day. As Lake Trouts prefer cold temperatures, they go deeper into the lake when the sun is right above the head.
When the sun is setting, they return to the shoal to feed in the weed beds again. Follow this path of their movement, and you will bag a good number of Lake Trouts this time.
From this phenomenon, you can derive that Lake Trouts stay deeper in the lake during summer. And higher water during the fall and spring and into the winter months.
The wind is the friend of all flying anglers. The direction of the front plays a significant role in fly fishing.
Lake trouts can sense something rough before a storm. So, they will try and eat as much as possible before the low-pressure system arrives.
If you go after that, you can find the Trouts in lackluster, making it a long and boring fishing day. If you are at the tail end of the storm or days before, fly fishing for lake trout will typically be steady.
Even though Trouts are predatory animals, they like to feel secured. Trouts mainly take biomass as their food. The biomass can be small insects, invertebrates, or baitfishes. The best place to find them is in the shoal where vegetation grows.
It is the perfect place for food and shelter for Trouts. Another perfect location to get biomass is the soft muddy bottoms.
The ecosystem of a lake goes through turnover twice a year. This natural phenomenon takes place in spring and winter. The lake water flips itself during these times. Hence the name turnover.
Naturally, during summer, the top layer of the water in the lake is the warmest. And the bottom layer is the coolest as sun rays do not reach there.
The opposite scenery takes place in the winter. The upper layer becomes cold and denser. So, it settles down at the bottom. And the bottom layer rises. Thus, the turnover of the water takes place.
During these times, fly fishing is not very productive.
The best time of the year for fly fishing is during Ice Off. It is the first couple of weeks after the ice starts melting from a frozen lake. The Lake trouts are aggressive at this time, making it perfect for fly fishing.
These are some easy tips to follow if you are new to this and wondering how to fly fish for trout in a lake.
However, do not expect much in your first time. Lake flyfishing is a lot different than river or sea fly fishing. The still water can make it a bit challenging.
The first tip to flyfishing is to be patient. You also have to be careful and watch the current as your line can get dragged away from the trout nesting area if not careful. Follow all the tips and instructions and go all prepared for fly fishing for trout in a lake.
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