While winter's grip is still pretty tight on many of our favorite trout-filled reservoirs, it's only a matter of time before the ice clears. Soon enough, it'll be time to twitch leeches along weed lines, hang some chironomids in the chop, toss dries at cruising shoreline fish, and swing for the fences with a big meaty articulated streamer. There's no better time to round out your collection of gear for the upcoming stillwater season while we wait for those trophy-producing lakes to thaw.
Get prepared for the big wind, wild weather, strong fish, and unique challenges that stillwater presents. With that in mind, we've put together a collection of gear that will help you get on-the-water ready for ice-off.
If you're into fishing big stillwaters, might we suggest a 10-foot rod like the 10-foot 5-weight Scott Centric. There are a variety of advantages to fishing a longer rod including better leverage which keeps your fly line higher off the water when false casting, as well as more efficient management of longer leaders.
We've sung the praises of the Centric since its debut last year. High line speed, flat, stable loops are easily generated at any distance with minimal effort from the caster. Light in the hand, the Centrics are wildly accurate and can handle the big W you'll undoubtedly encounter on your favorite stillwater. The ease of roll casts and mends is next level. The ability to control loop shape and line speed at any distance gives anglers wide-ranging versatility. The Centric in the 10 foot 5 weight or 6 weight is a damn near-perfect stillwater fly rod.
While there are plenty of fly reels with stout, fully sealed drags on the market that are well suited to put the wood to any stillwater trophy. There's only one that is made here in Colorado that is rocking an impressive Casey Underwood finish like this Abel SDF. Based on the SDS (Sealed Drag Salt), the SDF (Sealed Drag Fresh) is a scaled-down version of the award-winning saltwater titan featuring similar porting and a stainless steel / carbon fluoropolymer drag system. The SDF boasts an enormous amount of drag, an adjustment range almost three times greater than its predecessor, and virtually zero start-up inertia. Too much tech for you? This is the cream of the crop.
RIO’S INTOUCH STILLWATER FLOATER is the perfect all-around floating line for the lake angler. The line is designed to easily cast long leaders and multi-fly set ups, as well as to turnover indicators rigs. The ultra-low stretch ConnectCore provides incredible levels of sensitivity for enhanced detection of subtle takes, faster reaction time when setting the hook, and more control when playing a fish. Whether fishing from a boat or the shore, this line will get the job done.
For those of you who have spent time on those big stillwaters chasing trout measured in pounds, not inches, you know that the wind and weather are huge factors and they can come on strong and fast. Be prepared for everything mother nature is going to throw your way, with the new Simms® CX Jacket. It is a pursuit driven, angler designed, 3-Layer waterproof workhorse. Built so you can keep your head in the game and keep cranking in any condition. Waterproof, breathable, dialed. Engineered to outlast the others.
You need to trust your knots when you're reeling in that year maker from the depths and the Phantom X Ultra Fluorocarbon can be trusted, no ifs, ands, or buts. Phantom X is a five-layer Ultra Fluorocarbon and to put it simply, it is the strongest and most invisible fluorocarbon tippet on the market. Get you some for stillwater season.
Whether you're looking to store piles of articulated streamers or you're in need of a one-stop storage shop for your leeches, scuds, chironomids, damsels and callibaetis, consider the Baby Boat Box your perfect stillwater fly storage companion.
When you hook into that big lake-dwelling brown (You know...that brown you'll be talking about for years to come to everyone with ears), you'll need a big net with plenty of reach. Enter the El Jefe Grande Net. It is 52.4” in length with a sizeable 13" wide and 21.75" length head and a deep 14" bag. It's meant to hold that fish you've been chasing for years. Plus, it's durable and it floats. So, treat yourself this spring, so you can provide a nice little apartment for that big brown when it's time to compose yourself for a couple of quick photos.