Fly Fishing Lakes


Fishing lakes is quite a bit different than fishing a stream. The big reason is there is no current. So out of the three basic principles that govern fish (protection, food source, and current), one has been removed. A fish’s primary protection in a lake is deep water, weeds, and large obstructions like rocks and logs. Remember what we said about their food source? It needs light for vegetation, so most insects in a lake are near the shore. This doesn’t bode well for the fish’s protection does it.

When to fish – Fish in lakes feed primarily at night. They can rise from the deep water under the protection of darkness and eat all night. Besides protection, there are couple other reasons fish feed at night. Many hatches occur just as the sun is setting and continue into darkness, so this is a prime time to fish. Also, the moon provides just enough light for the fish to be able to see the insects. If you fish a lake during the day, you will have better luck if there was no moon out the night before. If you are going to fish a lake during the day, there are a couple things you should consider. Fish in areas that are shaded. The fish will go to these areas as it provides protection and allows them to get closer to the shore. Fish in areas that have weeds. Again, this helps with protection.

Where to fish – For the most part, you will want to be fishing fairly close to shore. This is where the food is. Also look for areas that have weeds under the water and any places where creeks are flowing in and out the lake. Again, stay in the shadows if you are fishing during the day.

How to fish – You can have good luck casting dry flies at dusk when you see fish starting to rise. You must have a long leader as the fish have a long time to take a look at your fly. During the day, you will have better luck casting nymphs near the shore or in the weeds. You will also be much more effective if you can cast from the middle of the lake to the shore rather than casting from the shore. Float tubes are an inexpensive way to get started lake fishing. They cost anywhere from $75 to $300. You sit in a U-shaped, fabric protected, inner-tube that keeps you about waist high out of the water. You wear fins on your feet to maneuver. More expensive personal water craft called water skeeters are also available. They keep you almost completely out of the water and most use oars to maneuver around the lake. These water crafts cost $250 and up.