Every start to the fishing season has its challenges but during major high water years, like this one those stresses can run you crazy. The talk is the same “where and what do we do now”? As the best river venues typically have something to offer they too can be off the list until conditions improve and it is then that we truly see lakes come into the conversation. There are plenty of die hard lake fans out there that have put in their time over the years and for that they know the great rewards of lake fishing in the Rockies. Here are a few tips to make your first high water lake adventure successful.
Once you decide on a lake quickly evaluate its basic character; is it deep, shallow or a little of both? These are the zones you will need to focus on after ice out. If it is a deep lake, like Jenny Lake, give the lake a couple weeks to “wake up”. Shallow or productive lakes respond almost immediately to ice out. Keep your fly choices simple and moderate in size, unless you are targeting a particular trophy fish, medium sized flies get more eats. If you have no baseline on what to start with simply try a black or olive wooly bugger, size 8 or 10. Have a couple sparse minnow streamers on hand but most importantly get proficient casting a sink tip or full sinking line and use 8′-9′ flurocarbon leaders in 2 or 3X, if the water is murky up that tippet to 1X. Lastly and I say this all the time, cast less and hunt more. Get on the bow and just look around; purposely try and spook some fish out and when you do take note of what type of water they moved from. That is where you fish next but if at all possible try and sight fish. Lakes can be so vast, why aimlessly cast blind, get your eyes on the prize and go to work, Enjoy!