Stillwater Stalking

Wayne Jordan - 05/02/19

Eastern Washington Lake Trout Fly Fishing

Stay close, stay successful.

As a lake fisherman, the month of May means it’s prime time to hit the stillwater. Gone are the days of 40-degree water and staring at a bobber all day. Now is the time when spotting, stalking, and sight casting to cruising fish is my favorite technique, but it does take some skill to be consistently successful. Here are a few tips to help you be more successful lake angler.

Location, Location, Location

Before I fish a lake for the first time, I like to do a little online homework beforehand. Using the satellite imagery on Google maps will help you determine where to fish before you set foot in the water. One of the main things I’m looking for when researching maps are weed beds and shallow bays. These areas will warm up faster, thus having more insect activity and feeding trout.

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so you’ll also want to pay attention to what areas of the lake are getting sunlight early in the morning. Again, this will affect water temps, bugs, and fish activity.

What's on the Menu?

Kind of like my two-year-old son, lake fish can be extremely picky about what they eat. Chironomids, damselflies, dragonflies, callibaetis, and water boatmen could all be on the menu throughout the day. Paying attention to your surroundings will pay dividends. Look for nymph shucks in the water and bugs in the water/air to help narrow down your fly selection. Just like river fishing, it’s always smart to have everything from nymphs to dries to effectively match the hatch.


Stealth is key when casting to fish in the shallows. A general tapered floating fly line with a 12-foot, 4X-5X leader is a great choice when fishing shallow water. My personal favorite line is the Scientific Anglers Infiniti taper, which provides enough punch in the wind, but lands subtly on the water.

Hopefully we'll continue to have a cool spring that'll allow us to fish the lakes into June this year before the water temps get too warm. Now put those indicators away, get out there and do some stillwater stalking!

Eastern Washington Low Land Lake Trout Fly Fishing
Eastern Washington Low Land Lake Trout Fly Fishing