Finding Trout In Lakes (6 of 12)
Many fly fishers find lakes daunting and nearly impossible to read. Staring at the vast featureless body of water before them, many feel a sense of helplessness. With no discernible character common to rivers and streams, finding fish seems impossible. Yet, with a bit of education, finding trout in lakes is not all that difficult.
Many fly fishers, when they come to lakes, automatically think about working the shoreline areas. And while these are often great places to prospect, there are other regions of the lake you should take advantage of. This can be done by simply understanding the three primary needs of Stillwater trout, comfort, protection, and food.
Water temperature is one of the key aspects of Stillwater trout fishing. Each species of fish has their own preferred temperature range. For most situations you'll want to find water temperature in the 50 to 60 degree range. This is ideal trout temperatures. They will process food fast, their metabolism will be high, they'll eat often; and you have the best opportunity of catching fish. It's important to remember that as water temperature increases, its ability to hold oxygen decreases. Trout simply aren't comfortable and will retreat to deeper, cooler waters, or their activity will slow and they'll cease to feed. A simple thermometer is an ideal tool when you're fly fishing lakes.
As with trout in moving waters, trout in still waters can exhibit both selective and opportunistic behaviors. In lakes, trout are very opportunistic on the food sources they prey upon. Meaning in the absence of a hat, they'll prey upon just about anything they come across. But they're very selective about the depth of water they choose to hold in.
Factors affecting depth include available sunlight, bright light tends to drive them deeper; changes in atmospheric conditions, barometric pressure tends to drive them deeper when it drops; available forage, they're going to go to areas of the lake where they can find food; and water temperature. So the next time you visit your favorite lake, consider these factors of where you want to go on the lake and at what level you want to present your fly.