guide is aimed at increasing your odds of catching one of the
trophy trout Sheridan Lake is famous for. There aren't any real
secrets to make success a sure thing, but by following a few simple
rules you can increase your odds greatly.
RULES FOR INCREASING YOUR CATCH
fishing whenever you can & stay with it
sure your lure or fly is working properly
proven lures and flies
the proper depth and speed and stay with it
observant and keep records
safe and courteous
Fishing Whenever You Can & Stay With It
regulars on the lake feel the fish will be on the bite at some
time during the day. The problem is predicting when it will be.
You have to be there when they are biting. Sheridan can have a
very active bite anytime of day and many swear the fishing is
best in the middle of the day. Others say first time in the morning
or late evening. The peak bite changes through the season and
can change daily. But generally, if you put in the time, you will
determine the best times to be on the water. If you're not a die
hard and do not want to spend the whole day on the water, you
are probably better off going out numerous times during the day
instead of concentrating all your fishing in one period.
you are fishing for trophy trout and that "wall hanger" can bite
anytime. In fact, many of the average-sized trout can put up a
battle that bad equipment won't stand up too. Any kind of set
up can be effective for trolling, but most of the old-timers stick
with a fairly soft 8 to 10 foot rod, using either a small mooching
reel or revolving spool reel with enough capacity to hold at least
100 yards of 12 pound backing line, with a minimum of 120 feet
(4 colors) lead core, and 90 feet of 4-6 pound monofilament leader.
Fly rods with full sinking lines and long leaders can be very
effective as well.
fish are taking offerings on the surface, a spinning outfit rigged
with 6 pound monofilament can be the way to go. But day in and
day out, the lead core setup has been shown to be the most effective.
The most important part to remember is being sure you have a very
smooth drag system for whatever reel you use.
leaders are the rule and a reel that can stand up to long runs
without seizing up or sticking is critical. Every year the common
story about the "one that got away," is ended with, "my drag was
too tight" or "it stuck." Trophy trout are hard enough to get
and land without your equipment failing. Listed below are some
proven equipment suggestions.
1. "Sheridan Lake Special" from Rich-Make, a special 9 foot rod
made for fishing lakes with lead line. 2. Light mooching or steelhead
rods with a soft action. 3. Fly rods 8 to 10 foot in 8 wt.
1. Small salmon single action mooching reels. Daiwa or Zebco make
reliable reels with smooth drags but remember to "let 'em run"
with these type of reels. 2. Revolving Spool Trolling reels. The
drag system can be more forgiving on this type reel as it will
slip even when you turn the handle. The Penn 109 or 209 have plenty
of capacity for the lead core and smooth drag systems. Many other
brands with adequate capacity can do a fine job, you will find
the levelwind feature very helpful. 3. Large capacity fly reels
are adequate for trolling as they only have a clicker system.
Providing the drag is up to you. They are probably best used by
the more experienced fisherman.
1. Lead core line that changes color every 30 feet is available
in various breaking strengths. The 18 pound size lets you get
more on the reel and will sink a little deeper than the heavy
lines. 2. Backing can be any good monofilament in 10 to 15 pound.
Maxima line has been a good choice for years. Make sure it's fresh
each season and doesn't have any weak spots. It's a good idea
to check it at least weekly. 3. Leaders are the most critical
part of your trolling setup. Long light leaders are the rule on
Sheridan Lake. The standard leader is 60 to 90 feet of 4 to 8
pound line. Go as light as you feel comfortable with. We have
found Maxima UltraGreen Monofilament to be a very good performer
over the years. The new small diameter monofilament like Dai-Riki
and Dragonfly allow you to go to a heavier leader without increasing
the visibility to the fish. Many of our customers have switched
to these premium lines.
of the type and strength of the line you choose, be sure to check
it frequently and replace the whole leader at the first indication
of roughness, kinks, or other signs of weakening. Many find it
beneficial to change the leader every few days if they are fishing
hard. It's cheap insurance for the big one.
to retie your lure any time you notice a kink or abrasion. It's
not a bad idea to retie the lure after every fish you catch.
Other Necessary Equipment:
good long handled net is a necessary accessory if you intend to
keep your catch. It's awfully difficult to put a 6 pound trout
in the normal sized short handled net.
rod holders let you fish more hours and keep you from losing that
expensive new outfit overboard. Many regulars think you will lose
less fish by leaving the rod in the holder until the fish is well
hooked and has completed its first run. There's an instinct to
set the hook and that jerk can be the one that breaks your light
needle nose pliers or hemostats will make releasing fish easier
with less wear and tear on you and the fish. Even if you normally
kill all your limit, you will need the pliers to gently release
any "spawners" you catch. Who knows, you may find it necessary
to release that ten pounder as you already killed your limit of
over 50cm big ones.
cooler or burlap bag will keep your catch fresh and cool. Keeping
your catch on a stringer in the lake is not the best way to good
eating. A wet burlap bag is much better and a cooler with ice
is even better.
and waterproof clothing to keep you comfortable no matter what
the weather brings. It's hard to follow rule one of "staying with
it" when you're wet and cold.
good hat with sun-visor and sunglasses can be very necessary on
those hot bright days of summer.
pair of nail clippers or scissors to cut your line.
knots you use are the most critical and weakest link in your trolling
setup. Learn the proper knots and tie them correctly. Your leader
to lead core and backing to lead core should be connected with
a needle or a nail knot tied properly. The nail knot is as close
to a 100-percent knot you can use and it will go through your
rod guides without hanging up. It's a good idea to put a drop
of SuperGlue on the knots or some other glue like Pilobond to
make them even more secure and smoother going through the rod
guides. We have instructions available for trying the needle knot
and will be glad to tie them for you, but you should learn so
you can change the leader frequently. You need to be able to tie
the line to your lure quickly, even when it's cold. A good knot
is the "Trilene Knot," which is a modification of the clinch knot
which doubles the light leader through the connection to the lure.
The improved clinch knot is also a very good knot for connecting
your lure. We can also show you these knots so you can learn to
quickly tie a new lure or fly on.
rules to remember when tying any knot with a monofilament; be
sure to moisten the knot before you tighten it up, or you will
burn the line and weaken it. Be sure to tighten the knots completely,
inspect the knot and test the strength every time you put a lure
out, be sure to cut the line with clippers or scissors, never
burn the stub off as it will weaken the line.
to retie the lure anytime you notice any signs of weakness or
abrasion. I always retie all my setups every day when I first
start fishing. It doesn't take long and could be one less excuse
for the big one getting away.
lure or fly comes from the store sharp enough to fish with, it
only takes a few strokes with a file or hook sharpener to make
it sharp enough to stick to your thumb nail. Three colors of lead
line and 80 feet of leader allows the fish a lot of stretch before
setting the hook. Dull ones won't stick. Using dull hooks is probably
the most common mistake trollers make.
in the habit of checking the action of your lure or fly along
side the boat before letting your line out. Plugs should run straight
and not spin. Trolling speed can be critical to how well they
run, if by changing speed you can't get them to run right, you
may need to fine tune the lure by bending the eye in the proper
direction to get them running right. The instructions with the
plugs tell you how. You will find FlatFish and KwikFish plugs
very sensitive to going too fast when trolling. Be sure to tie
your line to the connection provided by the manufacturer, for
example the little snap supplied with Hot Shots are critical for
the proper action. Most trollers don't use swivels with any of
the plugs or spoons commonly used here. If you are going the right
speed and using properly tuned lures you won't need them.
like the popular Wells Spoon or Dick Nites can be trolled at a
greater speed then the plugs, they should dart back and forth
and seem to swim and never spin. Tuning is not necessary, just
get the speed right. Another reason for checking your lure's action
every time, is so you can duplicate the action of the lure after
you catch a fish. This is especially important with the spoons.
Flies should be connected directly to the leader, they should
swim in an upright manner (hook down) and never spin. If they
are not tracking correctly, you can usually correct the problem
by adjusting the knot on the hook eye or straightening the hook
with really bulky flies it is necessary to twist the body of the
fly gently to get it to swim right. Gang Trolls are not too popular
on Sheridan Lake, but at times can be very effective. Brass or
Half and Half blades in very long trolls are the most popular.
You should use heavier line and good swivels when using the Gang
Trolls, as they put a lot of strain on your tackle. Landing large
fish can be very difficult with the Gang Trolls, and a rubber
snubber can help keep the short leader tight. Another reason for
checking the lure action along side the boat, is to make sure
the trolling speed is acceptable for each rod and set up being
type of lure has its optimal speed and if a lure is not working
properly, it won't catch fish no matter how "hot" it's supposed
to be. It is very difficult to find a speed that will allow you
to fish both a plug and a spoon at the same time. Also the fly
may be tracking correctly but is still being fished to fast if
your spoon on the other rod is working correctly. Because of these
difficulties, many find it best to stay within lure types when
fishing multiple outfits, flies with flies, spoons with spoons,
Flatfish with Flatfish, and so on, they just vary the size and
color to find the hot lure or change flies to find the right one.
Proven Lures & Flies
is not saying you shouldn't experiment, after all changing lures
is part of the fun of fishing. However, you will probably have
more success going with the proven lures and staying with them,
rather than trying everything in the tackle box. The favorite
lures change as the season progresses and we will be glad to tell
you what seems to be working at the time of your visit.
are the lures and flies usually considered standard for fishing
Sheridan Lake and can be effective at any time.
FlatFish or KwikFish in size 4 through 6, in perch, black, glitter,
skunk and frog. Hot Shots in size 50 and 70 in black and silver,
perch, scale, BPS, and frog.
Wells Spoon in both the large and small size. Dick Nite Spoons
in brass and two sizes of Hildebrand brass spoons.
Horsehairs, Matsons, Black Leech, Green Leech, Red Woolly Worms,
Green Woolly Worms, and Peacock are the standards, but the fish
favorites change frequently, so be sure to check with us.
is very easy to say, but can be difficult to do. Proper depth
not only refers to what depth your is at, but also what depth
of water you are fishing over. Speed can vary greatly depending
on wind speed and direction. If you keep records, you will probably
find that on a given day you caught most of your fish going either
with the wind or against the wind, but not both directions. Speed
not only affects the depth of your offering but the action (see
rule VI). Trolling is not a haphazard exercise of randomly driving
around the lake, but a set of exercises aimed at finding the fish
and getting them to bite. Then repeating the conditions that worked,
over and over. More about proper depth. Even if you have a depth
sounder, you should have a topographical map of Sheridan Lake.
You will note the bottom is a series of benches or flats of relatively
uniform depth paralleling the shore.
without a depth sounder, you should be able to try various depths
until you find the fish. Try to stay in the same depth no matter
what part of the lake you decide to fish. This does not imply
that you can't catch fish in various depths, but your odds are
better if you stick with what works, as it is probably an indication
of some kind of hatch at that depth the fish are keying on. In
fact, rather than the usual "where are the fish biting?" query
of successful anglers you would be better off knowing the lake
depth. A few more words about the depth of your lure. Lead core
and downriggers, have made this task easier than the days of sinkers.
The downrigger lets you return to the exact depth time after time,
regardless of speed, but if you maintain your speed you can return
to the right depth time after time. For a rule of thumb, lead
line will place your lure down about 8 feet for each color in
the water at a speed that will troll a FlatFish properly. But
what is more important is to go back to the same amount of line
out each time, with the color coding, this is easy to do. The
proper depth for the lure to run can only be determined by experimentation.
With accurate fish finders, most trollers like to be 2 or 3 feet
above the fish with their lure. Remember, fish cannot see down.
It's easy to fish too deep, without fish finders most people start
out with one color in the water and go deeper one half color of
lead core until they find fish or are in fear of hitting bottom.
Most of the guys with fish finders will tell you what depth they
are marking the fish. Early in the season most people will be
catching fish with one and a half colors in the water, and will
go one color deeper each month until the water starts cooling
in the fall.
about trolling speed, as mentioned before, don't exceed the action
of your lure. Most lures with spoons, will work at a range of
speed, from dead slow to the pace of a fast walk. You should change
your speed until you find the one the fish like that day. A very
good way to change the speed and the depth of your lure is to
trolling a zigzag pattern. The inside lines slow and drop, and
the outside lures speed up and rise. Have you noticed how many
times you have hooked a fish just after completing a turn?
is the same principle at work. Many experts think the fish just
follow the lure along, and with a sudden change in speed and depth,
the fish are stimulated to strike. Whatever the reason, you will
find you have better luck if you troll only one direction until
you catch that first fish. Then concentrate your trolling to the
downwind or upwind direction you were going when it hit.
guide lines for trolling speed with various lures: FlatFish and
KwikFish should be trolled as slow as you can go, In fact, they
will start to spin and be ineffective at very little speed. Hot
Shots can be fished from very slow to a pace faster than that
causing the FlatFish type lures to spin. They are a good choice
for those windy days when you can't get dead slow.
spoons can take quite a big of speed and should be trolled quite
fast, but try them slow as long as the action is right....that
might be what it takes on a given day.
generally should be trolled as slow as you can go. If there is
some a breeze that will allow you to drift over the area of the
lake you want to fish, drifting with the wind can be deadly. Another
good way is to "mooch" your flies by rowing your boat and drifting.
Just row enough to keep the lines straight. If you drift or row,
remember your lead line will be sinking deeper and to start out
with less line out. The flies can be trolled with your motor as
well, but keep the speed as slow as you can. Many people drag
a bucket or sea-anchor when trolling flies to slow the boat down.
As flies have no built in action, be sure to zigzag to make them
appear more lifelike.
track of all the little things, and keep a log of what happens
each time you go fishing. The log should not only contain information
on what you caught, with what and when, but weather conditions,
time of day, and speed you were trolling, depth of water and lure.
Many of the regulars keep notes attached right on the map of the
lake. It can be a place to start the next time you go fishing
and the conditions match what you experienced before. Be observant
of your location when you hook a fish, line up reference points
on the shore and repeat the same exact trolling pattern on your
next pass. Watch for signs of fish, you will see fish boil, jump,
slurp and all the other things they can do to drive you nuts.
But, if you see them working an area half the battle is won. You
know there's fish where you are fishing, now it is up to you to
catch them. One word of caution though, don't stay with an area
too long if you aren't catching any fish, no matter how active
they are. Sometimes they are actively feeding on some insect that
you just can't match or duplicate the action by trolling. Be observant
of other anglers. If the lucky ones are leaving the dock when
you're coming in, or vice versa, you might be fishing at the wrong
time. Watch for other clues to their success, most anglers will
be very helpful if you ask for a little help.
good water safety, have all the necessary safety equipment and
use it. Don't overload your boat. Watch out for yours and others'
wakes. Be careful with fire around gasoline tanks in your boat.
All the other common rules of safety should be followed.
special note THUNDERSTORMS CAN OCCUR FREQUENTLY IN THE SUMMER
MONTHS. They are always accompanied by high wind and lighting
-- two very bad things on the water. You should try to get to
shore before they hit, if you're in a small boat. If you wait
too long to head for camp and find yourself caught out in the
middle or start of the thunderstorm, go to the nearest shore and
wait it out before heading for camp. The good news is, most of
the storms only last a very short time. The middle of the lake
can be very rough during one of these storms and your don't want
to get caught on the lake in the typical fishing boat.
other fishermen room, don't cut off their path and don't follow
too closely, no matter how many fish they're catching. You should
not troll too closely to anchored bait and fly fishermen, be sure
to give them room to make their casts, 60 yards is ample room.
If you fly fish, don't block the trollers out of an area. Leave
room when you anchor next to another boat for the trollers to
fish through. Be especially careful of your wake when passing
near anchored boats. If you are courteous, the regulars will notice
it and they will be more willing to offer you fishing info.
the laws and read the regulations. Ignorance of the law
is no excuse. Practice catch and release. Be extra careful when releasing
fish, if the fish appears unharmed, many can be released just by giving
them slack line and they will throw the hook.
that doesn't work, try to release them without touching them or
netting them! Long-nosed pliers or hook out pliers work well.
The handling of the fish or netting them, removes the protective
mucus they have and makes them more susceptible to diseases. If
the fish is really spent and can't maintain it's balance, you
should revive it before releasing it. This is done by wetting
your hand and grasping the fish lightly by the base of the tail
and pushing it back and forth to pump water through the gills.
You will be able to tell when it gains strength, let it swim off
when it is able to pull out of your light grasp. If you have to
net a fish to release it, be very careful not to tangle the net
in its gills and to keep the net and fish in the water at all
will probably catch some spawners at sometime when fishing Sheridan
Lake. You will be able to identify them immediately by their lack
of fight and dark coloration or egg extended bellies. It is not
considered good sportsmanship to keep any spawners even though
the law allows you to. They are usually not the best eating and
certainly not a good fighter. Be especially careful when fighting
and releasing spawners as they are in a very weakened state already.
Most sportsmen try to land the spawners as quick as possible and
horse them right in once they know they have one on their line.
Then they quickly release them following the procedures outlined
above. In fact, many of those fishing with flies just cut the
line quickly and get the spawner free as soon as possible with
a minimum of handling. Remember, the spawner you properly release
now could well be the trophy you catch next time.
spawners clean up quickly and are prime fish in a couple of months.
If you find you are catching
nothing but spawners, try speeding up and fishing a little deeper
and use a litter bag, and a bottle or jug to urinate in.
pollute the lake. Not only is it against the law, but it is the
water supply for most of the people on the lake including this
proper care of the fish you want to eat, keep them cool in a burlap
bag or cooler until you can clean them in the fish house, (be
sure to leave those heads on the fish, the conservation officer
has to be able to determine their length). If you wish to freeze
your catch, we will be glad to do that for you, as we have special
freeze wraps for storing.
hope these tips help you have a good time fishing Sheridan Lake.
When you get that big one you wish to keep, bring it to the office,
so we can get your photo for "the wall of fame."
& article courtesy of Sheridan