April 24, 2019

How to Approach a New Lake

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC annually stocks over 800 lakes across our province with rainbow and brook trout. It would take a lifetime to explore all the superb stillwater fishing we have in British Columbia. There is always an element of excitement when launching your boat into a new body of water, but it often takes some patience to learn how to fish a new lake. Here is a short list to help you maximize your success on new-to-you fisheries.

Before Dropping Anchor

When you find yourself on a new lake, it is easy to drop anchor into the first spot that feels fishy. While this can obviously be effective if you are seeing a dense hatch taking place, or marking numbers of fish on your sounder, it is often worthwhile to make a lap around the lake without having a line in the water. Observe the shoreline of the lake while keeping an eye out for active fish or hatching bugs.

Using Your Depthsounder Efficiently

While you make your way around the lake, your depthsounder will allow you to pay attention to the bottom structure of the lake. Look for underwater ledges that may attract fish, and whether the lake has a flat or undulating bottom. When your sounder indicates a sunken island or other fish-holding structure, make a mental note using a shoreline marker like a stump, a log, or a fallen tree.

Keep a Journal

After spending a day on a new lake, it is important to keep track of what worked and what didn’t. Try to write down the date, water temperature, bug activity, productive areas of the lake, and which flies produced (or didn’t). Each lake has its own characteristics; keeping track of your efforts will save you from trying to recall each detail when you return the year after.

Author: Jordan Oelrich
Photos: Jordan Oelrich

Jordan Oelrich is the owner of Interior Fly Fishing Co. When he's not guiding, Jordan shares his knowledge for fishing as a writer and fly-tying instructor. 

Follow Jordan on Instagram or visit his website.