How To Fish Stillwaters
July 4th, 2005

Stillwaters, lakes, ponds and reservoirs are the most underutilized fisheries in the North America. Why? Because the average fly fisher doesn't know how to fish them, or where to start. Stay tuned, you too can master stillwaters! ~ LadyFisher

Emergers for Stillwater Fly Fishing

By Gary LaFontaine


The emergent stages of the caddisfly and the midge have to be specifically imitated because of the brightness of the air inside a clear pupal sheath. General patterns fail miserably when trout are selectively feeding on the pupal stage of either insect. This is true in streams, where fish have to make a decision quickly, and even more true in lakes, where fish can perch under and study an artificial fly for as long as they want.

Bead Head Deep Sparkle Pupa
HOOK: 8-16; TMC 3761 —IX long and 2X heavy nymph hook
OVERBODY: Antron yarn (pulled in a loose and sparse bubble around the fly)
UNDERBODY: Antron dubbing (touch dubbed)
WINGS: soft hackle fibers (along each side of the body)
HEAD: brass bead

This pattern is fished with a sink-tip line. The bead-head version of the Deep Sparkle Pupa, with long, steady pulls on the retrieve, rises up through the water like the natural swimming to the surface. This fly also works well with a floating line and the Hang-and-Bob technique.

Emergent Sparkle Pupa
HOOK: 8-22; TMC 100—standard dry fly hook
OVERBODY: Antron yarn (pulled in a loose and sparse bubble around the fly)
UNDERBODY: Antron dubbing (touch dubbed)
WING: deer or elk hair
HEAD: natural or synthetic fur (noodle dubbed)

This was the first fly to use Antron, the bright, multi-sided nylon that matches the air carried by the emerging insect inside the pupal sheath. Antron does more than just reflect light—it also attracts natural air bubbles. As a result the Emergent Sparkle Pupa, half in and half out of the surface film, becomes a glittering ball of silver with splotches of color. It becomes the rarest of artificials, a fly that is both an imitation and an attractor at the same time. It draws trout from a wide area, but then when they get near the Emergent Sparkle Pupa they don't hesitate in sucking it down. Whether it is fished dead, just greased with flotant and allowed to sit on the surface, or with a steady retrieve, it is the perfect imitation for the emerging caddisfly.

Halo Midge Emerger
HOOK: 16-24; TMC 900 BL—IX fine, barbless dry fly hook
BODY: Antron dubbing (touch dubbed)
HALO: small piece of closed-cell packing foam tied out either side of the shank so that it protrudes just behind the eye
SPIKE: orange deer hair tied in at the eye and slanted forward approximately 45 degrees.

The main midge colors are cream, gray, brown, black, olive, and red. The fly is greased to float and fished hanging in the surface film. It has enough powerful attractor characteristics, with the Antron body and foam halo, to be effective even when the water is covered with natural insects. ~ GL

To be continued, next time: Wet Flies

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