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Reading A Still Water
When you arrive at the water side, spend a few minutes observing the water. Tune in to your surroundings and get a feel for what’s happening. A few minutes of simple observations can make a real difference.
Some questions to ask yourself;
What are the fish feeding on?
Are fish rising to take off the top?
Are fish taking just below the surface?
Is there no fish activity at all?
If the fish are taking off the top then observe the water to get an idea of the insect life that they may be taking. On a still water, find the corner where the wind is blowing towards and there will normally be some scum where the wind has concentrated the floating debris. Here you should see some spent flies and insects on the water which will give you a clue. You can then select a dry or emerger similar in size and colour from your fly box
If you are seeing lots of fins and tails topping or bulges in the water, this is an indication that fish a feeding in the first few feet of water but not directly off the top. Again, see what insects you can see and try fishing the nymph or larvae stage of that insect. Good flies to try are small general nymphs such as Gold Ribbed Hares Ear, Sawyers Pheasant Tail or Buzzers.
If there is no fish activity at all then the fish will be lying deeper. You need to employ searching tactics using different flies and lines to go deeper and deeper until (hopefully) you find the depth at which the fish are feeding.
When the wind has been blowing in the same direction for a number of days it is always worth a try fishing in to the wind as many food items will have been blown in towards the bank and fish may well be hoovering these up in the shallows.