Lake Fishing 101 - 3 Simple Retrieves

Sean Visintainer - 06/20/15

3 Simple Lake Fishing Retrieves

New to fly fishing lakes? Keep it simple!

New to lake fly fishing? A very easy way to learn how to fly fish in lakes is to strip streamers. It's a great way to cover water and find fish. These simple stripping techniques can also be used while fishing from a boat or the shore. With approximately 75 lakes within an hour of Spokane we have many great stillwater options for fly anglers.

3 Simple Retrieves for Lake Fly Fishing

  • Short Quick Strips - perfect for buggers, leeches, and damsel/dragon fly nymphs. Can also be good stripping tactics for small or largemouth bass. Try adding a short pause after 2-3 strips. Often times the take will happen on the pause.
  • Hand Twist Retrieve - this technique is very popular when fishing chironomids and nymphs, however it is also good for streamers in colder water situations. Too hard to explain with text so you better watch the video on how to do it!
  • Long, Slow Strips - great for when fish are more sluggish and not reacting to fast moving flies. Often times during the colder months, but sometimes can be the ticket even during warmer times. Usually the strips are done in a consistent, steady fashion and occasionally it doesn't hurt to throw a pause in the mix to let the fly stall-out.

Thoughts on retrieve speed and depth

Not getting results? Change! Don't keep doing the same thing all day hoping something magical will happen... you need to mix it up. Whether you change the style of retrieve or the depth of your fly, that can be the difference between a bent rod and just hanging out on the water. If I went 20 minutes without any sort of indication things weren't working I would change my tactics... or location.