Unicoi Outfitters is north Georgia's premier guide service and fly fishing outfitter, located on the Chattahoochee River near alpine Helen. Look for fishing reports, gear and book reviews, and general musings here from our staff and guides.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lake Fishing Tip

Lake bound trout, bass, crappie, and bluegill are notorious for choosing different depths in which to carry on their daily lives. Water temperature, barometric pressure, fishing pressure, and of course food sources may put these fish at a certain depth level in a lake or pond at any given time of year. Some days finding this activity zone is critical to getting strikes. Putting your fly in the face of a sometimes sullen gamefish is not always easy. Strike zones the size of a ping pong ball can be encountered after strong cold fronts making precise depth control necessary.

Luckily there are many choices in fly lines that can get us down from the surface to around 30 feet or so. Beyond that depth is the realm of the trollers with down riggers anyway, also known as taking a sharp stick in the eye. Sinking and sinking tip fly lines can open up a whole new world to the lake angler. The only problem with that is they can also open up your wallet as well. A good fly line will set you back $70 or so. Depths over about 15 feet usually do require the use of one of these wonderful pieces of technology.

Fish in water at 15 feet or less however can be reached with your normal floating fly line and the use of a large strike indicator and heavy fly. Attaching an indicator at various levels on a long leader can give you precise adjustments in the water depth that your fly can be fished. I know there was a collective cringe by all you traditionalists out there (you know who you are). My favorite shallow water lake depth control tool is the simple Thingamabobber from Westwater Products. These little wonders are available in sizes from 1/2 inch to 1 1/4 inch sizes. With the largest size you can keep a dumbell-eyed Clouser Minnow on a collision course with a school of hungry spotted bass in 12 feet of water for the entire length of the cast. Watching your indicator get jerked two feet under water also adds a visual aspect to probing the depths with your fly rod. Memories of childhood fishing a red and white bobber with a minnow attached to an aberdeen hook will come flooding back the first time you get a strike while using this technique. With this set up the angler can stop his retrieve half way back to the boat and let the fly suspend tantalizingly over deepwater cover without having the fly drop down and become hung up. A super slow presentation can be had with such a rig making lethargic fish take a second look when your fly comes helplessly creeping by. This is just another arrow in the quiver of the lake angler.

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