Stillwater Trout

By Phil Rowley


Over the course of my two previous RIO blogs I discussed two of my three factors on ‘How to Find Trout’ in stillwaters trinity. The final segment in this three part puzzle focuses on food. A segment most might view as a familiar component to finding fish in any environment, from saltwater to spring creeks.

When it comes to finding trout in stillwaters and using food sources as a guide, the first step is to consider where forage is concentrated. Energy from the sun’s rays stimulates plant growth. Aquatic vegetation is preferred habitat for invertebrates and forage fish. In lakes, the sun’s rays only penetrate the top 20 to 30 feet depending upon water clarity, the clearer the water the greater the influence of the sun’s rays. This means we need to concentrate our efforts on the shoal and shoreline margins of a lake where weed beds abound.

Trout venture into shallow weedy areas on a daily basis to forage. Targeting the shoal region also provides us with the greatest presentation advantage. Probing the shallows allows us to use a variety of fly lines and tactics. Floating lines with and without indicators, full sinking lines, creeping buoyant flies just above the bottom tethered to a sinking line and the list goes on. When plying deeper reaches in excess of 20 feet our presentation options are limited.