May 27, 2021 4 min read

It’s that time of year again! Spring is here and if you’re like me, the classic fairweather fisherperson, then it’s time to dig out and dust off that fishing gear and get out on the water. Whether you’re new to the fly fishing world or a seasoned veteran on the water, it can be a challenge to know what flies are essential to have in the fly box. Here are my top 5 flies that I always make sure to have for a day of fishing on the lake. Hopefully they will work just as well for you!

1. Leeches

Leeches are a staple for any fly box when it comes to stillwater fishing. If I’m
fishing a new lake, or I am not sure what those trout are munching on at the time, I always throw on a black leech to start and most of the time I don’t even have to change it! Leeches are such a reliable fly pattern as they are a staple food source for trout and are available for them to snack on year round. They come in all different colours, including black, red and purple and can be fished by trolling, stripped or hanging below an indicator. I would highly recommend having a few different leech patterns in your fly box that you can use both as your go-to or your backup.

Check out some of my favorite leech patterns included in these Loaded Stillwater Fly Boxes.

2. Pumpkinheads

Although a pumpkinhead is a type of leech pattern, I wanted to give it its own
blurb because it is one of my go-tos. I have had a lot of luck with this fly particularly on lakes in the interior of B.C. The pumpkinhead leech is an attractor pattern that works wonders, and like the black leech, is an ideal fly to start out with when exploring a new lake or for fishing stillwater when there is no specific hatch happening. It’s orange and green colour pattern is a unique combination that shows off it’s fancy looks and catches the eye of trout that happen to be swimming by. They can be fished by trolling, stripping or below an indicator on a floating line.

3. Chironomids

Chironomid season is just getting started and these little guys have some of the
most active hatches found in lakes across B.C. These flies are often fished below an indicator on a floating line and are found in an array of different sizes and colours. The size and colour combination you choose depends on what species you are trying to catch and which region you are fishing in. If you’re unsure of which pattern to use, it may be best to talk to your local fly shop to get some advice. Under the right conditions, chironomid fishing can be super action packed and will have you staring intensely at your indicator until you go cross-eyed waiting for it to dip under the surface. Start packing that fly box with those chironomids because it could start any minute!

Grab one of our Loaded Chironomid Boxes here!

4. Scuds

Scuds (or shrimp) are a staple food source for trout year round, and are found in the majority of lakes in large abundance. They are best fished in the early spring and the late fall, when other insects are scarce and they become one of the only food sources available. Scuds like to hang out near the weedy and muddy bottom of the shallows, shoals and drop offs. The best way to fish them is to use an intermediate sinking line and let it sink close to the bottom, then strip it back erratically and quickly to imitate swimming shrimp. Scuds come in different colours and sizes and it is important to try and match the pattern in the lake you’re fishing. Once you’ve found that perfect pattern, hungry trout will be on the lookout and gobble that scud right up!

5. Woolly Buggers

Woolly Buggers are a type of streamer pattern that are a staple for any fly box. If you are unsure of what those fish are eating, woolly buggers are a good choice to start your fishing day with as they imitate an array of different little critters such as nymphs, leeches, terrestrial insects, crayfish and several more tasty critters that trout love to munch on. This fly comes in a plethora of patterns and colours to choose from, and just like leech patterns, they can be trolled, stripped or suspended under an indicator. I have had success with catching a few big trout by trolling a maroon woolly bugger slow and deep. It is one of those easy go-to patterns that rarely fails to catch a fish! I hope that sharing my top flies for lake fishing has helped set you up for a successful day on the water. It’s time to get out there and catch those trout! Happy angling :)

Chelsea Ashbrook

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