“Still” is the operative word here, the part that keeps you coming back. There is no rushing water contending for a place in the senses. No wondering what lies around the next bend. No pressure to get the fly beneath that cutbank before you pass it by. Lakes and ponds invite you in like a good therapist—ready to listen, easy with feedback, willing to let you sit back and figure some stuff out. In this case the result is decidedly more tactile: chunky trout grown fat on food that swims instead of drifting. You might be tempted, when that trout is in the net, to look it in the eye and say, “Eating that popsicle midge on that slow retrieve was an interesting choice. Let’s unpack that a bit. Tell me about your childhood…”


The toolkit is admittedly a bit specialized. Fly boxes filled with row upon row of midges, sedges that skate around the surface like invertebrate jet skis, damsels to swim along sandy banks. We might wade lakes and ponds, or fish them from skiffs or belly boats—watercraft that, in a river, would be about as effective as a dumpster. But beyond the different tools, there’s the mindset that goes with fishing stillwater as well. On a lake, we don’t fish right to left, or left to right. We don’t fish upstream or downstream. We fish 360 degrees, up and down, at right angles and shallow angles and deep angles. Why in the world would you fish stillwaters, you ask? Because stillwaters are a world unto themselves.


Conditions can vary greatly when fishing stillwater, often changing by the minute. Wind and weather changes can come out of nowhere, hatches can erupt in short order, or fish can move to a different part of the water column. Having a versatile rig for stillwaters is essential. A longer rod allows for both increased distance and ease of line control, which is why we generally reach for the R8 CORE 5100-4FB as our go-to stillwater stick. Paired with an ARBOR XL 4/5/6 and RIO Stillwater Floater WF5F, this setup is guaranteed to increase your success on the water.