There is a reason the anglers that fish reservoirs get the affectionate name “reservoir dogs.” It is because of their pure passion for all things Stillwater. Many anglers may be so caught up in what they do on area rivers and rivers throughout the world, so much so, that they don’t realize there is an entire group of anglers in fly fishing that could care less about fishing a river. These anglers are your true reservoir dogs.
Anglers that fish these stillwaters learn the nuances of these reservoirs, lakes and ponds and understand what is happening subsurface and where it is happening. This helps them establish a pattern where they are able to catch fish when the rest of us can’t. These anglers visualize what is happening beneath the surface the same way that we see what’s happening on the top.
One thing that newer anglers to Stillwater fishing need to realize, is the fish are eating something somewhere, or are actively looking. These fish are not lazing about the reservoirs waiting for food. They are always actively seeking it. This means that if you are having a lot of down time…you need to switch tactics, switch location and switch your mind set.
Putting in days and weeks on world class reservoirs like Magic will allow anglers to find there own circuit. You may start the day pulling streamers over bass beds or fishing large boulders. You may end up switching to dry flies in the evening or nymphs and emergers in shallow bays. In any case, if you were ever going to keep a journal when fly fishing, keeping one for Stillwater fishing makes a whole lot of sense. Keep trach of water conditions like clarity and temps. Watch the depths of certain areas you are fishing. Note the weather and wind direction. All these things add up to improved and consistent catch rates.
The fish in our local reservoirs grow big quickly. You can fish from a boat, a float tube or just from the shore. Just be willing to be mobile when the bite turns off and on. Please keep in mind that the wind on our reservoirs can be killers. Take the wind into account each and every time you enter the water in a boat or a tube. Never get so far out that you couldn’t’ get back if conditions changed quickly. Finally, keep in mind that reservoir fish are almost always found in the top 12 feet of the water column.
Happy Fishing Everyone!