Perhaps the countdown retrieve is the most valuable still water technique. This retrieve purposefully presents your fly at the desired depth for the longest time. Fishing just above submerged weed beds is perhaps the most effective still water technique. To insure that your fly will be presented at the proper depth, match the fly line’s sinking rate to the depth of the submerged weed beds. This depth can be detected by probing a marked line and weight or by the use of video sonar. Sinking lines are available in the following densities: intermediate, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Each line sinks at a faster rate as its number increases. Sinking lines suspend themselves at an approximate depth. The following table provides the suspension depths.

Line Suspension Depth
Intermediate 0-5 ft.
1. slow 5-10 ft.
2. fast 8-20 ft.
3. hi-density 20-30 ft.
4. hi-speed 25-35 ft.
5. V 30-40 ft.
6. VI 35 ft.


In the countdown method the cast is completed and the line is pulled straight. Next, a timed count is made to allow the line to sink to the desired depth. It is an advantage to select a line that will suspend itself at the desired depth.

For example, a 12 ft. deep submerged weed bed is fished with a wet cell 2 sink rate line. In about 36 seconds the line sinks to about the 11 ft. depth; here it suspends itself by slowing its sinking rate. At this depth the line’s specific gravity approaches the water volume that it displaces. A timed count of 36 seconds is made and adjusted by trial and error until the line sinks to the desired depth. At first you may deliberately over count the sinking time, then attune the count until you no longer snag weeds. The same type 2 line used in a six-foot depth will continue to sink and have a tendency to hang up in the weeds. Here, in six-foot depths, a wet cell 1 line is an in-between choice because it starts suspending at the six-foot depth. Its slowed sinking rate allows a longer retrieve without hanging up on weeds. The best line choice is made

In lake fishing the line selection is more important than the fly selection

by selecting the slowest sink rate that will reach the desired depth. Success depends upon the line selection. Suspended flies at the fish’s depth can be fished for a greater distance and time. This simply boosts your odds of catching fish.

In lake fishing the line selection is more important than the fly selection. You must present your offering to the fish.

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