Wet Fly Swing Fly Fishing Podcast
Wet Fly Swing Fly Fishing Podcast
Littoral Zone #7 – Competitive Stillwater Techniques for the Non-Competitive Fly Fisher with Devin Olsen

Today’s episode of the Littoral Zone is a deep dive into the world of competitive stillwater techniques with none other than Devin Olsen, a current member of Team USA. Devin is well-known for euro nymphing, a lethal technique for going after those elusive river and stream trout.

Phil and Devin talk about the techniques Devin learned and used worldwide and how they can applied to everyday stillwater fly fishing. This episode is packed with angling expertise and insights that will have you itching to hit the waters.

Sponsors and Podcast Updates

Competitive Stillwater Techniques

Competitive Stillwater Techniques Show Notes with Devin Olsen

03:00 – Before we jump into today’s podcast, Phil addresses a listener question from our recent two-part episode on stillwater fly lines.

06:30 – Phil also just released a brand-new book titled “Stillwater Flies with Phil Rowley and Friends.” This book is a compilation of Stillwater-focused fly patterns that Phil showcased in his fly-tying column at BC Outdoors Magazine.

09:30 – Devin started casting a fly rod at a young age, and his competitive journey began at 18 with the Fly Fishing Masters competition. He later joined Fly Fishing Team USA in 2006 and worked his way ever since. He is now preparing for his 13th World Fly Fishing Championships in Slovakia.

11:43 – Devin is also a former fisheries biologist, accumulating seven years of experience in the field before he started an online fly shop called Tactical Fly Fisher.

Competitive Stillwater Techniques

13:30 – Devin highlights how competitive fly fishing has significantly influenced angling gear and techniques worldwide, even for those who don’t compete.

20:20 – Devin’s early fly fishing experiences revolved around stillwater fishing, influenced by his dad and friends who were enthusiastic float tube anglers.

Loch Style Fly Fishing

27:00 – Devin highlights the difference between traditional North American stillwater methods, such as using indicators or trolling, and the loch style.

28:00 – In North America, boats aren’t often suited for the loch-style approach. However, in the UK and Europe, boats like clinker-style boats are designed with a unique shape that enables them to penetrate the water deeply.


29:20 – A drogue is an underwater parachute with a rectangular fabric that attaches to your boat’s gulls and effectively slows you down in windy conditions.

33:00 – The advantage of loch-style fishing is that you’re casting your flies ahead of the boat. This approach keeps the fish unaware of your presence and prevents them from being spooked or alarmed.

38:00 – Devin shared some tips on using a drogue. Cone-shaped drogues are suitable for drift boats because they have a single rope attachment. The drawback to the cone-shaped drogue is you can’t use them to direct your boat much.

Devin’s Gear Choices 

56:00 – Devin recommends having a comprehensive range of sinking lines, including slow intermediates to fast sinking Type Seven.

59:00 – In the UK, 10ft 7wt rods are common, while in North America, a split between 10ft 6wt and 7wt is observed.

1:05:00 – In competitive fishing, leaders often feature minimal to no taper. Many anglers in the UK utilize leaders with around 5 to 6 feet to the first fly, and a similar length to each additional fly. The flies are typically placed on dropper tags, allowing for free movement underwater.

Devin’s Top Flies

Polar Humongous

Hook: FM 5095 or FM 5075
Thread: black 8/0 Uni thread
Bead: Silver or gold tungsten bead
Tail: Black marabou
Body: Hareline medium UV Polar Chenille in silver or gold

Tasmanian Treat

Hook: FM 5095 or FM 5075
Thread: Olive dun 8/0 Uni thread
Bead: Fl. orange tungsten bead
Tail: Olive marabou
Flash: Blue Krystal Flash
Body: Olive Spirit River UV2 Scud Shrimp dubbing
Hackle: Olive hen hackle
Dubbing collar: Pearl Ice Dub

Competitive Stillwater Techniques

Blank Saver

Hook: FM 5095 or FM 5075
Thread: Black 8/0 Uni thread
Bead: Fl. chartreuse tungsten bead
Tail: Black marabou
Body: Black Hareline solid Tinsel Chenille


Hook: FM 5095 or FM 5075
Thread: 8/0 Uni thread with the color similar to the mop body
Body: Mop finger in cream, chartreuse, or any other color you wish to try
Optional bead: Black nickel tungsten
Optional Booby eyes: 5 mm black Booby Foam cylinder

You can find Devin on Instagram @tactical_flyfisher

Youtube @tacticalflyfisher3817

Facebook Tactical Fly Fisher

Visit their website at TacticalFlyFisher.com

Competitive Stillwater Techniques Resources Noted in the Show

Competitive Stillwater Techniques