Photography By: Jason Shields
Stillwater fisheries can provide opportunities to catch some of the largest trout in the world. One of the challenges many anglers face is how intimidating such a large body of water can be. What I’ve learned over the years is that a majority of large trout find a bulk of their diet near drop lines, vegetation, or rocky shorelines.
- FINDING FISH
An effective strategy is to view fishing windows from a high perch or vantage point. Even if you are fishing by yourself it will let you know how close to the edge the fish is cruising, how deep the target is, and what direction it is swimming. Then you will know if your rig is in the path of the trout when it swims by to prevent missing chances for the fish to see your flies.
Try to find a structural points that intersect trout travel lanes. A point on the shore, or the mouth of a bay puts you closer to the trout as it forces them to funnel around you.
My favorite spots along a shoreline are usually isolated large rocks, or rocky points. Trout cruise below, around, and through the rocks using shade, the structure itself, and extra surface disturbance to remain undetected. This is where I locate some of the largest trout of my year.
2. MAKING THE PRESENTATION
It’s important to see the path of the trout, what direction it is moving, and if there is a pattern to how it feeds. It helps to visualize your presentation by drawing an imaginary dotted line in front of the trout to a spot where you think the fish will eventually be. I prefer to lead the fish by 10 feet or so. This allows time to manage line, sinking time for a dropper, and breathing room to move the fly into position to intercept the trout as it moves through the feeding lane.
3. FIGHTING FISH
Most anglers lose trout in the first or last thirty seconds of the fight by applying the wrong amount of power.
A vertical lift is not the answer for quickly getting a trout to the net because there is not enough lifting power in the tip section of the rod. Instead, try lifting while performing a convex bend with the rod. This applies power from the butt section—the strongest portion of the rod.
4. RECOMMENDED GEAR
ALPHA+ 9′ 6-8wts
“Whether I am battling the elements on Pyramid Lake, selective Western Colorado Trout, or Golden Dorado in South America, the Alpha+ is up for extreme conditions and any angling challenge you might encounter.”
“I encourage all anglers to let the reel do its job! When you see line ripping through the water with a powerful fish attached to your fly, the Bauer RVR fly reel will scream while successfully battling any powerful stillwater fish.”
Prolific writer, accomplished fisherman and passionate conservationist, Landon Mayer is a Winston Pro Advisor and world-class fly fishing guide in the heart of scenic Colorado. His home tailwaters are the forks of the South Platte River near Lake George, Colorado — better known to locals as, “The Dream Stream,” thanks to its reputation as home to some of the region’s biggest trout.He has made it his mission to help others enjoy more success on the water and experience fly fishing like never before amidst the stunning vistas of the Rocky Mountains.Experienced anglers and complete beginners alike are sure to enjoy a day on the water learning and fishing with Landon Mayer.Learn more about Landon at