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Can You Fly Fish In A Lake?

Where to Fly Fish and the Best Methods to Use

Last weekend, I stood on the shores of my favorite river. This river features some of the best fly fishing spots. I love to fish on the river because it features moving water and sturdy wading areas. While fishing I met another angler. He had no experience fishing with flies. This surprised me and lead to a long discussion on where to fly fish and the best methods to use. Our conversation prompted me to share my thoughts with you.

What Is Fly Fishing?

Fly fishing is a technique many fishermen use in streams, rivers, and lakes. This angling method is also great on clear water because the fish will see the ‘fly’ more easily. Fly fishing earns its name because the method involves casting the bait on top of the water. When you do this, the bait appears to be an insect that has landed on the water or just below the water’s surface This angling method varies dramatically from traditional fishing, where the bait is plunged deep into the water.

Is Fly Fishing an Efficient Fishing Technique?

Traditional fishermen may have a hard time believing that this is an effective fishing technique because it is so different. If you ask an experienced fly fisherman, they will tell you that this fishing technique is very effective. When the ‘fly’ or insect bait sits on the top of the water, the fish can not see the fishing line.

This allows the bait to appear as a naturally occurring food source. Fish are simple creatures, they follow patterns and eat the same food. When the bait is offered in a way that they would consume it naturally, the fish will put little thought into snatching it.

Flies are a primary food source of fish living in most bodies of water. When you fly fish, you are offering fish the food that they want and like.

What Gear Will I Need?

can you fly fishing in ponds and lakes

If you are a newer fly fisherman, there are a few things you need to get. After all, you want to have the right equipment. The first is a fly rod and reel. Fly rods are a type of spinning rod. With weight, the rod should cast. Spinning rods vary from fly rods because of the weight they carry. Spinning rods use lures to add some weight and make for a better cast. Fly rods only carry the weight of the line. This is to prevent them from plunging deep into the water.

Waders and boots will come in handy too. You will get wet if you wade into the water. This is necessary gear to get for cooler fishing months. The waterproof waders and boots will allow your body to stay drive and prevent you from getting cold.

how to fly fish in lakes

Can You Fly Fish on a Pond?

Unless you are trespassing on private property or attempting to fish at a pond that states ‘no fishing’, you can definitely fly fish on a pond. Ponds are preferred because beginner fly fishermen will need to start in still water. Moving water may be too difficult to fish on, especially if you are focused on learning a new technique. The water may run away with your line.

Most public ponds allow you to fish, even private ponds generally allow fishing with a catch and release method. Stocked trout is a popular fish found in private ponds. Trout like flies and are sure to bite with a ‘fly’ on the line. Visit a nearby pond and practice fly fishing to catch the stocked trout.

Because stocked trout are often fished, they can be a little more discerning then naturally occurring fish found in rivers and streams. This makes them the ideal target when practicing a new fishing technique. You can hone your skills and visit a lake when they get better.

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How Do You Fish Different Flies?

There are five common types of flies that are used for fly fishing. There are a variety of different techniques and circumstances that work best, depending on the type of fly you use to fish. You will need to understand these differences to catch fish, whether fly fishing on a lake, river, stream, or pond.

What Are the Best Flies to Use?

fly fishing nymphs in lakes

The first is the dry fly. Fishing with this fly is simple. Allow the fly to lay on the top of the water. You will see trout jump around to get it. Dry flies are typically used in the winter. While fly fishing with these flies, you will notice patterns of midges and Baetis.

Use a brown, or black, size six girdle bug stonefly. These flies are great choices in regions like Montana. The fish want these flies. In the winter, stick with the black girdle bug stonefly. This fly will stand out against a snowy background.

Nymph Fly

Try fly fishing with a nymph. A nymph is a fly that is still in a life stage that permits it to live underwater. Nymphs are generally caught and eaten by hungry trout feeding at the subsurface.

San Juan Worm

The San Juan worm is the ideal flyfishing bait for the late winter months. Who goes fishing in the winter, right? Well some of us do and we use the San Juan worm. These fly fishing baits are often found in reddish, or pinkish, colors. The color captures the attention of trout and most other fish.

Streamer Fly

The streamer is another ideal bait for catching trout. The streamer can be tricky to use though. Because it is long, fish could easily snatch it off the hook and swim away. The key is to put the hook through the majority of the streamer’s body. This prevents fish from latching their jaws on the bait and eating on the go.

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How to Fly Fish Lakes

Can you fly fish in a pond?

Fly fishing on lakes should be treated the same as fly fishing on a pond. Both are still water. You will find that fly fishing on still water varies dramatically from fishing on moving water. For starters, longer lines will work better than short ones. This allows the line to float and move similar to a fish’s food source.

When fishing on a lake, a ten-inch rod works best. This length gives you the most control of the rod and allows you to easily steer the line to where you want it to go in the lake. It is also important to purchase tackle that allows you to send the line deep into the water. A lake can be pretty deep. When fly fishing on a lake, it is important to fish from the deepest parts. Preferably about two or three inches above the lake floor.

Trout Fishing from a Boat in Lakes

Lakes do not offer as many shore-line opportunities as rivers and streams. This means that the best way to fly fish on a lake is in a boat. Fly fishing from a boat provides you with the opportunity to look around and get a different perspective. You can easily see where fish may be jumping from the surface.

Trout is the most commonly caught fish in lakes. Warmer water is the best place to find trout in lakes. This is because they enjoy feeding in warmer water. The water’s temperature also determines how active the fish are. Fish will be more active in warmer water and more likely to take the bait.

The Best Location to Fly Fish

fly fishing streamers in lakes

There is no such thing as the best location to fly fish. You can fish on lakes, rivers, streams, or ponds and still catch fish with this technique. If you are catching trout, I would recommend fishing on a lake or river. Lakes and rivers are less likely to contain stocked trout. This means that the trout are easier to catch and less suspicious.

Though lakes are great fishing grounds, bodies of water with a lot of moving water are ideal for fishing trout. They like to make homes in the current. Beginner anglers should avoid moving water. There are more skills that are necessary to fish moving water. I’d recommend fly fishing on a lake if you are a beginner angler.

Is Fly Fishing Hard?

Fly fishing is not hard. It takes time to find the right techniques and products to use. If you do your research and know a little bit about the fishing area around you, you should be able to catch on pretty quickly. Flies are a great bait to use because they are a fish’s natural food source. This gives you a natural advantage.


There are advantages and disadvantages to fly fishing on a lake and river. I prefer to fish in rivers, but both bodies of water will result in a catch. That is if you understand where to look and what technique to use. Take advantage of the advice I’ve given you. This knowledge has provided me with much success. Good luck with your future fly fishing endeavors.

  • December 15, 2020