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The Best Stillwater Lures To Tie Right Now - Garrett Lesko Guest Blog

The Best Stillwater Lures To Tie Right Now - Garrett Lesko Guest Blog

As Autumn turns to Winter and water temperatures begin to cool, fish become susceptible to lures. Below is a blog by US based Upavon Consultant Garrett Lesko. Here he shares his top 5 globally influenced lures for stillwaters that work across the world. Check out his website and made to order fly selections here!

FIshing lures on smallwaters in Winter can be a very effective method using various retrieves. Lures are often synonymous with a "pulling" retrieve, especially in the colder months when fish are hungry and willing to chase. Some argue that the depth the flies are presented at is the most importat factor when fishing stillwaters. Depth can be achieved in multiple ways. Notably, either by changing lines or the weight of your flies. Although depth is an important consideration, confidence in your flies is also important for success. So let's get into the ones I have in my box. 

Slim Damsel/ Big Jim Damsel

This is one of my top-performing flies for lakes. I love this fly with an orange or blue bead and blue flash. This pattern is adapted from English and Australian patterns that are tied in a very similar style. The thin body with a buggy hackle allows it to sink without impeding the flies' lifelike movement in the water. It’s a simple pattern that can have different variations or colour combos that you can adapt to your water. If you want to add more flash to the fly, you can use Upavon Iridescent Effects Dubbing for the body, or thorax. Alternatively, you could add a hackle to the fly if you want a bigger profile. I mostly tie this fly in olive and black and change up the bead colours. 

Straggle Bugger

This is one of the simpler flies you can tie for stillwater fishing. It is a two-material fly if you don’t include the hook and the bead. The tail and body come in a variety of colours and between them, you can have virtually unlimited combinations to choose from. It is a great searching pattern. I will often fish two of these flies at one time in different colours and sizes to accurately work out the fish’s feeding depth and the colour(s) that are working on the day. This is a great, simple pattern for those just starting as it is easy to tie and catches a lot of fish. Black and olive are my go-to colours but I keep purple, white, claret and brown in the rotation as well.

Straggle Hackle Bugger

Simple is the name of the game. This is another two-material fly that catches fish. They offer a different presentation than the straggle string buggers because of the short shank hook and the “fluffier” body material. I use Upavon Damsel Straggles in Green Flash, Blue Flash, Copper Flash and Nymph Mode. If you know me you probably know that I am partial to the combination of Olive and Blue flash on my damsels. The fish love it too!

Pulling Blob

I tie this style of fly differently than most UK and EU guys. The main difference is the thorax of the fly is tied with Upavon Neon or Pure blob fritz instead of a hackle. This fly has caught me so many fish when nothing else will. The yellow/white combo and the green/black combo are my favourites and staples in most waters. However, it is worth having multiple variations that are different to the colour combinations the fish see all the time. I will always have red/brown or purple/pink to hand just in case. I used to tie the pattern with all fritz material for the body but it never swam quite right. I do half the body with Upavon Iridescent effects dubbing and then just the “shoulders” with Fritz. This fly is my “blank saver” and works especially well with freshly stocked fish. 



This is typically the go-to fly for most new stillwater fly anglers. The long tail adds a lot of movement to this fly and the soft properties of the marabou collapses when a fish sucks it in ensuring consistent hookups. I rarely get hesitant takes when using this fly, but when I do I either pause or speed up the retrieve and that typically solves my problem. Most guys tie it in black or white with either gold or silver Upavon Tinsel UpFlash, but I’ve seen it in olive and brown as well. This fly is a good benchmark.

Whether you are an experienced Stillwater angler or new to the scene, these 5 patterns are a great addition to your box. They are always in mine in various colour combinations and I wouldn’t go to a lake without them.
All pictures credit to Garren Wood.
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