Paul Arden | Tuesday, 16 July 2019

When I first became a fly fishing Instructor I used to run weekend courses at Ardleigh reservoir for beginners. Now the problem I had is that flyfishing stillwaters is a huge subject, you have methods, you have seasons, knots, flies, flyline densities, trout behaviour. It’s a huge subject. And how to convey even part of this information along with learning to cast and going fishing? And so I wrote a small book.

I called this book “a beginners guide to Stillwater trout angling including some advanced thinking”. Ok I was 25 FFS. I haven’t always been perfect and a few people did ask for more of “the advanced thinking” but fuck it, there is only so far advanced that I can or want to think. 

So you have to bear in mind that this was written almost 25 years ago. But as I’ve written before somewhere most of the information I’ve ever needed is in there. I would add more stuff about currents nowadays - because about 10 years ago I had a lightbulb moment and realised that currents is one of the cornerstones of Stillwater angling. 

Also I would include sight fishing on flats - that’s not something I had done very much of back then. Since then that’s something I’ve spent a lot of my time doing. Also fishing from kayaks and float tubes is sorely missing. I’ve only fished float tubes a little but I have had a huge amount of experience fishing kayaks on similar style lakes. 

You will find that virtually all of the methods on these pages apply to Montana and Tasmania. I mention those two as examples because I’ve spent a fair bit of time Stillwater fly fishing both of these. They don’t apply quite as well to NZ especially on lakes that have steep drop offs and deep water (Lake Manapouri is 444m deep - no buzzers down there!) 

There has been a few additions to the methods in the last quarter of a century but not much. Blobs (FFS), washing line (that’s in there a little bit actually with the yo-yo method), the bung (that’s actually in there too).  CDC duns for Tassie...

If you get anything out of it I hope you take away the systematic approach to Stillwaters. As Steve Parton once wrote, “patience is not a virtue in angling; what you need is ‘organised impatience’” You’ll also find another of Steve’s terms in there, namely “sequencing”. This is the ability to duplicate exactly what you were doing to catch a fish and then trying to catch as many as possible in the short time frame using exactly the same method. These two ideas are the basis behind virtually all my trout fishing, indeed fly fishing as a whole. 

Anyway with no more ado, here is the Stillwater guide including some “advanced thinking”.  Tongue Out 

Cheers, Paul

PS as always, you can ask any question on the Board.