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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sillwater Rigging

I had a conversation with Mike Williams who is the Fish Outs chairman for the Gold Country Fly Fishers club here in Nevada County. He has done a lot of stillwater fishing in the area and is also very familiar with the lakes here in the Sierras and the desert stillwaters on the east slope and how to fish them.

My experience in stillwaters is primarily versed in the wilderness lakes in Montana and Wyoming with the gear I could manage to carry in a backpack. I haven't spent much time in our local stillwaters, but I am going to. So for all intentions and purposes I'm a newbie.

I was asking what gear and lines that I should get set up to get ready for my own learning curve. I've got a pontoon boat and plenty of rods and reels but really no specialty lines or rigging.

Mike made the some suggestions for getting your rods, reels and lines ready for our stillwaters.

Rods and Rod Holders

Mike suggests that you have 2 rods rigged when you are fishing, a 5 weight and a 6 weight. Rigg up your pontoon boat with rod carriers to store the two rods when you are moving around or when you are fishing with one or the other rod. So, that's two rods, two extra spools at a minimum to cover the situations that you will encounter on our stillwaters.

Here's a strap on and a bolt on rod holder called the "Scotty Fly Rod Holder"

Stillwater Lines for Your Five Weight Rod

Cortland Clear Camo Intermediate Line

It is mandatory to have a clear full intermediate line for your stillwater fishing. This will probably be the most important line in your arsenal. This will be the one on the reel with your 5 weight when you get started.

Precision Clear Camo – Intermediate (90’)full intermediate, Type 1 (1.5 – 2 IPS) all conditions fly line, featuring Cortland’s Rocket 2 taper. An excellent still water line that has found a huge following in many locations regardless of temperature. Remains supple in the coldest of conditions while still able to withstand blazing heat.

Rio Windcutter II - Weight Forward Dry Line

You will also want to have a WF Dry Line for casing dries and emergers. The Rio Windcutter II is a great weight forward line for windy conditions which you often encounter when fishing stillwaters. This is the line that you will have in reserve on an exra spool for your 5 weight

This taper was designed especially for western rivers where delicate presentations are required in windy conditions. Accurate casts can be made with the Windcutter II with just the tip of the rod for a very tight loop. For windy conditions or when distance is needed, the thick belly will load the butt section of graphite rods. The Super Floatation Tip with a welded loop facilitates quick leader changes and the welded loop in the rear end makes rigging easy. The AgentX coating and XS Technology delivers smooth, easy casts in coldwater fishing conditions, while the DualTone color scheme enables anglers to easily find the ideal loading point.

Stillwater Lines for Your Six Weight Rod

444 SL Classic - Steady Sink Type 1,2,3,6 (90')

Mike also recommends setting up the six weight rod with two lines. This will require another reel with an extra spool.

The Cortland SL Classic Steady Sink is available in many sink rates. Mile recommends having a Type III for your six weight rod.

444 SL (Specialized Line) is Cortland's universal fly line to suit most of your fishing situations.

The other Line that Mike recommends for the six weight rod is a Type 2 Sinking Line.

Cortland Pro Cast - Sinking Type 2 (90')

The Pro Cast sinking line is available in a type 2 (2.5 - 3 IPS). The type 2 is extremely effective for big, fast-moving rivers and stillwater applications - keeping you in the proper zone longer. The super smooth finish is built on a braided nylon core keeping the line supple in cooler conditions.
Sizes: WF 4-8
Type: Type 2 (2.5 - 3 IPS)
Taper: WF
Color: Dark Green
Core: Nylon Braid


Get set up with these four lines and you've got a great head start. Of course over time you will probably add additional lines and more gear, but that's what fishing is about, right!

With these two rods and the four lines you should be able to cover most of the stillwaters wherever you roam.

Also, pick up Denny Rickards book "Fly-Fishing Stillwaters for Trophy Trout" and you'll find out how to fish the stillwaters correctly.

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Have any Questions or Comments? Let me know, Clay.