How to Sight Fish Lake Edges for Cruising Trout
Sight fishing for cruising trout can make for an exciting day of flyfishing, but you need to do your homework and be tactical to have success.
First and foremost, you need to have a lake that is conducive to fishing this way. Here are a few tips for finding that perfect lake:
- The water must be clear… like New Zealand clear. You will need to be able to see at least 6 to 9 feet deep. A gin clear lake is a gem and can be difficult to find, so be warned.
- Look for elevated places and cliffs along the edges that you can use to spot fish.
- The lake needs to drop off no further than 30-40 feet from the shore. Fish will usually cruise right at the edge of that drop-off and you’ll have a hard time spotting them further than that distance.
- There needs to be a good food source in weedbeds and rocks near shore so the trout will be feeding in an area you can reach them.
Find a lake that has these features and you have a recipe for success. Now you just have to know how to fish it right…
- You HAVE to go into Stealth Mode. In a lake, fish can be coming from any direction, there is no such thing as “facing upstream” so you have to move slowly and deliberately as you move around the lake looking for trout. It can be more like hunting than fishing. You need to use any cover you can, and try to remain in the shadows.
- Keep your eyes open and stay focused. Stalking lake edges can be way different from sight fishing on a river. Trout blend in remarkably well against a lake bed and the fish don’t use structure as much in a lake. Look for gold or white flashes from the sun hitting them and slight movements of their tail and mouth. It is not easy.
- Be patient. When you finally spot a trout, it’s easy to rush a cast, but stay calm because you have time. Even if the fish is moving away from you, it will often return to the same area. When you spot a fish, get behind some cover and watch for awhile. Try to figure out its feeding pattern and what it is feeding on. Is it slurping flies from the surface, or is it closer to the bottom digging in the weed beds? Make your best determination, choose a fly, slowly stalk to a casting position (try to stay behind the fish) and make your best cast.
Stalking cruising trout in a lake can be as much or more fun than any day of river fishing. Once you’re ready, you should check out this trip in Argentina where you will be sight fishing for huge 20+ pound rainbows on Jurassic Lake.
Good luck, and let us know how you do.
P.S. – a great way to practice for the big leagues is flyfishing for carp. The tactics are the same, but the stakes aren’t as high.