Wet Fly Swing Fly Fishing Podcast
Wet Fly Swing Fly Fishing Podcast
Littoral Zone #1 with Phil Rowley – Finding Fish on Stillwaters, Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

Do you know what a Littoral Zone is? Did you know it’s the most productive part of the lake? Phil Rowley takes us into stillwater fishing and explains what this new Littoral Zone Podcast is all about. He describes which is the best rod for stillwaters and why.  

Phil gives us the step x step process to find fish in lakes. Click the button below to listen to the podcast and find out all of the answers to help you find fish on your next trip. 

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Littoral Zone Show Notes with Phil Rowley

01:33 – Phil explains what is the perfect stillwater fly rod to use. He recommends a rod between 5 and 7-weight, preferably 9.5 or 10 feet long. A longer rod will help with roll casting on the lake.

04:146 – We find out what is the best motor for stillwater fishing. Always use the most powerful electric motor you can find. Phil uses a 55 lbs Minn Kota motor. There is a photo of a motor below but not the exact model that Phil uses. Make sure to use a lithium battery to help with reducing weight and last much longer.

Littoral Zone
Photo via: https://minnkotamotors.johnsonoutdoors.com/freshwater-trolling-motors/endura-max

06:03 –  Phil describes which is the best indicator color to use. He likes hot pink and hot orange for bright days.  

Littoral Zone
Photo via: https://www.stillwaterflyfishingstore.com/products/quick-release-indicators

07:58 – Phil talks about how to find trout in stillwaters. Trout are cruisers in lakes and may live in one part of the lake for their entire life. Lakes can be intimidating because of their size.  

09:55 – We cover the things you need to know to find fish: comfort, protection, food, and observation.

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10:09 – Comfort is one major factor to consider when finding fish in terms of water temperature, weather, and seasonal changes. The warmer the water gets, the less oxygen it holds. 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit is the key temperature for trout in lakes. Water temperature also affects the food that fish eat.  

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12:24 – Lower a thermometer with a cord into the lake to find the 50 to 65-degree prime window. 

12:40 – Weeds also give off oxygen so there will be more fish around weeds. Tributaries to lakes can also be good places to find cool water and fish during the summer months.

15:35 – Lakes go through seasonal changes. During the changes, it can affect where trout will be in the lake. You can find fish in shallow waters just after ice comes off when it is stratified. Different temperatures of water temperature will not mix.  

Littoral Zone
Photo via: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no6nHN51SOo

17:31 – During the summer the lake will be mixed and fish may be in deeper waters especially as things get warmer.  

19:08 – Wind can affect how you can find fish. Foam lines can be key places to find fish as well.  

19:45 – The next factor is protection. These are things that give the trout confidence to come in and feed. Light, structure, vegetation, and depth are keys. Algae is one key factor.  Rippled service helps fish to find comfort.  

22:30 – Light is a key factor. Generally, fish are in shallow water during the morning and evening and deeper during the day.  

🎣 This video is the first podcast interview we did with Phil.

23:07 – Structure is another factor in finding fish. Trout like bass love structure but they don’t hold on to points. They cruise edges and ledges. Drop-offs, points of land, and other transition zones are where fish will be.

23:58 – He discusses the three basic zones or areas of a lake. The shoreline area, shallow shoal area, and deep water zone. The shallow shoal area is the grocery store of the lake because it’s influenced by light which stimulates plant growth and provides oxygen for the fish.

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27:47 – Use the land adjacent to the lake to show you what the slope of the underwater lake looks like. If the bank is at a steep angle into the lake then the slope of the river may be steep.

29:00 – Always think about transitions. Phil spends his time around these areas and a beaver lodge could be another great area to focus on.  

29:58 – Bathymetric maps are a key to finding fish. This is a map with a series of lines that shows the depth of the water. Google maps can work great as well.

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31:25 – Sounders are very helpful for finding fish. These are also known as fish finders but Phil calls them sounders because they help you find structure and not just fish. Look for changes in depth around structures. Phil likes the Hummingbird Helix 7.

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Photo via: https://www.humminbird.com/learn/fish-finder-series/helix Hummingbird

33:15 – The third piece of finding trout is food. If you find the food, you will find the fish just like the grocery store for humans. Weed beds provide oxygen, protection, and the majority of the food.  

34:45 – A throat pump is an important tool.  Here’s a link to Phil’s website and the tool. It helps you identify the prey items and size of insects.  It is not a stomach pump.   

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Photo via: https://www.stillwaterflyfishingstore.com/products/throat-pump
Throat pump that Phil uses

36:23 – We find out how to use a throat pump and why you should not squeeze water into the mouth. Phil talks about the best way to do it so you avoid pushing your sample away from you. White margarine containers can help to hold your sample. You can also discover feeding activity from a throat pump sample.

40:00 – Chironomids are the most widespread food source in lakes so it’s very important to understand these insects. The smaller the insect, the earlier it emerges in the season. 

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Photo via: https://flyguys.net/fishing-information/still-water-fly-fishing/chironomid-pupa-fly-tying-tips
(Typical chironomid fly pattern)

42:15 – The power of observation brings it all together. When you get to the lake, start by spending 15 minutes to turning over rocks and looking for what bugs are out hatching, or flying. An aquarium net can be very useful as well as spider webs.

44:45 – He mentions the two-fish rule. If a fish rolls once, take a look. If it rolls twice, you want to go over and investigate what’s going on. So, look for an activity.  

45:37 – Pay attention to other anglers to find out if they are catching fish. Binoculars can help you see what’s going on. Find out if they are catching fish and what they are using.  

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Photo via: https://vortexoptics.com/razor-uhd-12×50-binocular.html
Binoculars can help you see what other fishermen are using

48:38 – Phil notes DRP: Depth, Retrieve, Pattern. Do you have your fly at the right depth? Are you moving the fly at the right pace and not too fast? Lastly, think about your pattern. 

50:10 – Phil loves the drogue which is part of the loch-style fishing.  

53:00 – We cover what retrieves to use and when to slow or speed up your rate of retrieve. Vary your retrieve horizontally and vertically. Make sure to fan cast.

54:32 – The sweep line from RIO is one of Phil’s favorite lines for stillwater fishing.  

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Photo via: https://farbank.com/products/rio-premier-clean-sweep

You can find Phil on Instagram @PhilRowleyFlyFishing

Facebook at Phil Rowley Fly Fishing

YouTube @PhilRowleyFlyFishing

Visit their website at StillWaterFlyFishingStore.com

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Still Water Fly Fishing Store – Phil Rowley & Brian Chan's ...