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How Tillman Fishes

Since I have issues with my legs, I fish almost exclusively from float tubes. I fish buggy trout lakes from 2,000 to 7,000 feet. While fishing dry flies is wonderful, it is not my primary focus, since many of the lakes I fish are inhabited by eagles and osprey, which feed on the trout I am trying to catch. This keeps most of the trout away from the surface. Most fish feed along the weeds and near the bottom in 10

to 20 feet of water, so I fish almost exclusievely with unweighted nymph flies using sink tip and full sinking lines. I have found this technique to be very productive.

    Make no mistake, I go fly fishing, not fly casting. Casting is in the air, the fish are in the water, and so is my line 99 percent of the time. Also, the lines I use don't always cast so well, so after I fishout a cast, I get my line right back in water and down where the fish are feeding. Then I start working my fly to attract fish.


    Flies that I use are generally fashioned from plain old natural fly tying materials. They are barbless and usually in the range of size 12 through 16, mostly nymph, larva or pupa patterns. I will carry a few flies with flash backs and a few with hot spots for when the fish are not being sufficiently cooperative.

    I generally fish leaders well short of ten feet and my tippet is generally 5X fluorocarbon. I use clinch knots, davy knots and non slip loop knots at the fly - depending how I want it to act down there. I always fish in subdued colors so it is a good thing that I avoid lakes sporting power boats. I don't care to get in a power boat vs. float tube collision. And I don't ever intend to get caught in one of those fluorescent orange or blazing yellow float tubes that the fish can see from over the next hill.   



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