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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been listening to Norm Albiston and Denny Rickards on stillwater fishing techniques as of late. Albiston has some excellent advice but Rickards seems the master of stillwater.

Denny Rickards states that he normally approaches a lake and decides whether or not it is nutrient rich by the colour of the water and colour and appearance of the lake bottom (silted being good, rocky or sandy with crystal clear water being bad). He then surveys from whatever vantage point he happens to have where the weeds, lily pads, bays and likely shoals are after which he gets into the lake and heads in that direction. After finding a shoal he states that he rarely fishes in more than 10 feet of water and that he always probes with either a rod or a drop line to find the depth of the lake. Once he has established that he is in no more than 10 feet of water he turns and casts towards shore and retrieves. He never makes a cast to the same place twice and proceeds parallel to the shoreline up or down the shoal. He states that the reason for this is that trout cruise parallel to the shoreline as they search for food and therefore one should present the fly in profile to the trout in order to gain the best chance at tempting it to strike. He also states that when trout are down deep they aren't feeding.

Albiston states in one article that the largest trout in the lake are more likely to be caught at night as this may be the only time large, wary oldtimers venture into the shallows to feed.

Rickard's advice slightly contradicts what I have read elsewhere which stated one should position oneself just over the drop off regardless of depth and cast in a 180 degree arc, then move on if no strike has occured and I've heard of several people catching larger trout in deep lakes by fishing deep down.

My questions are:

1.)Does Rickards sound bang-on here or completely out to lunch because he really sounds like he has studied this over the years
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2.)Does the single cast perpendicular to shore rule seem excessive and restrictive?

2.)Is the 180 arc merely lining potential catches and largely spooking more than trout than it would entice?

3.)Does the depth at the drop off matter or should one stick to 10 feet of water depth or less if the shoal area is large enough (say the depth is 10 feet 40 feet from shore)?

4.)Or does fishing deep generally yield the larger trout?

Chime in with your thoughts, contradictory tales and experiences or other.
 

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I don't think that he's out to lunch but would challenge his comment about deep water fish not feeding. On White lake near Shushwap I have taken a lot of fish just off the bottom when they are feeding on snails and bloodworms. Also is sayers lake I have let my entire length of sink like out and then basically winddrifted a leach type pattern. Also it should be stated what kind of fishing you are doing with the 180deg comment. When fishing top water, go ahead and cast any which way, when fishing along the bottom and sight fishing in low waters there is no shelf, so again cast away. Also chiromonid fishing the line is usually hanging straight down so no need to worry about spooking fish. The type of fishing he sopunds like he is doing is more searching the lake and working the drop-off which on a new lake is great, tht way you can use a searching pattern like a leach or attractor type and find the fish then hunker down and fish that section.

I should note two things though, on accasion the fish have been as fussy as to refuse a cast that was retrieved away from shore, but once I placed my boat into the weeds they would take the fly over and over when the cast was brought into shore. That's the fun of fishing, trying to figure it out. The other thing to note is that I'm still a newbie and this is only my take on it.

Jamie
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
In regards to the 180 degree casting approach which Rickards does not support: I don't believe Rickards thinks it matters whether one is fishing the first foot with a dry line or somewhere in the middle of the water column with an intermediate or sinking line when the water has a depth of under 10 feet . When the line hits the water right above a fish it will spook it. Rickards' point is that one should cast perpendicular to shore so that the fly will cross the cruising trout's path as it is retrieved rather than swimming behind it (if the fish is swimming towards the point from which you cast) or meeting it head-on (swimming away from you after you've lined the fish). This seems to make good sense to me. Anytime you line a fish you stand far less of a chance of hooking up.

As far as casting away from shore and getting a bunch of hits, it sounds like you were fishing around the time of a damsel hatch to me.

I too have caught fish in the lower mainland near the bottom. Frankly, the lower mainland does not seem to represent the status quo for fine trout fisheries and at times seems to exist outside conventional fly fishing wisdom. It's possible that the lakes in and around this area lack the nutrient rich waters and abundant aquatic life that the interior lakes support and therefore fish on the bottom are far more apt to feed opportunistically. It almost seems to me that a black leech is the only fly one needs around here for the majority of the year.
 

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In the case of the bottom feeders, I refered to white lake because it is a nutrient rich lake with a decent insect population. I have also fished a few hwy #24 lakes where the best action was about 15-20ft along the tops of the weeds with scuds. Now that being said, I do for the most part fish in the 10ft or less zone, mainly because I tend to gravitate towards sight fishing. And have seen many fish in 5-6feet of water not be bothered the least by my flyline being tossed right over their heads, as long as it lands pretty.

Like I said the castin twards shore only sounds good if you are willing to keep moving, and if you are focused on as many fish possible maybe it is better. I often find wyself letting the wind blow me down the lake and casting this way, but depending on how you want to fish, I don't think it's a huge deal.

And yes, Irish Lake damsel fly hatch. I may be a slow learner, but at least I'm learning. :)
 
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