Time Is Running Out...

...to enter Flyfishergirl's Contest - Release Fish to win a Redington Rise Reel.

"This contest is all about proper care and handling of fish, with an emphasis on releasing the trophy ones UNSCATHED. Face it, we have all seen the grip-n-grin hero shots of our lifetimes. Are those large gamefish still out there? Yes, but certainly not in the numbers of the old days. Why? Well, the majority of people did not have the amount of education available in the past as we do today to be able to properly understand the benefits of catch and release and ramifications of angling as a whole. "

Please head to Flyfishergirl for more details, and to enter before its too late!


Quick Hits.

All flies are now priced at $2.00, and there are still quite a few flies available to buy. Remember, this is not about finding the perfect fly, this is about raising money to try to help save an incredible fish species here in BC. It is amazing at the number of people who donated their hand tied creations, many of which are worth much more than they are being sold for, so if you are willing to part with a few bucks out of your pocket for a custom tied fly and a good cause, I would be more than happy to put a selection together for you here at the shop. Call 604-588-2833 or email adrienne@myflyshop.com

For more info on Flies for Fins, check out April's blog here - Flygal Blog


Sandy River Spey Clave

As usual, this event was a total blast, despite the nasty stomach virus that blessed me on Friday hours before my demo (and is still lingering on).

There was a great turnout for the inagural Ladies Day, and it goes without saying that Mia Sheppard and Whitney Gould deserve a huge thank you and job well done for organizing the event. There were way more women present over the weekend than ever before, and with Friday's line up of female presenters and the effervescent Dawn on MC duties for the Clave, the ladies are now an integral part of the weekend. Thanks to Mark Bachmann and his team for giving us this opportunity.

Once again the sun made a strong appearance but this year the river was in beautiful shape. There were some awesome new rods and lines, and, as always, valuable information to be gleaned from the world's best.

Check out Rogue Angels, Metalheads and Flyfishergirl for pictures and tales from the weekend. I even got a chance to sneak away for a few hours to fish and was happily surprised by my first Oregon steelie.

Whit, Mia, Hannah, Dawn, Kati - it was so inspiring to be around you, as always!
K8 - we all missed you terribly... I mean, really, what does Mexico have that we don't?



Take a step back in time...

Not more than a couple days after I received an invite to go tarpon fishing in Florida in June, a friend brought over a copy of the movie Tarpon. I haven't been able to go more than a couple hours without praying that I can make this trip work, and watching the movie only made the desire to go stronger. Apparently this movie was never officially released due to some of the content, but has recently been re-mastered and released in DVD format. Some of you may have seen bootleg copies years ago. While there seems to be no storyline, plot or just general flow to the movie, it features some of the most incredible jumping tarpon shots I think I will ever see. I did feel a little disjointed after watching because the scene transitions were beyond random, a lot of the cast appeared to be high, and there was a particularly disturbing scene of a chartered fishing trip turned blood bath. Also, be prepared to see a lot of too short cut off jean shorts on fully grown men(I guess it was the 70's). But that all pales in comparison to watching those incredible fish fling themselves out of the water over and over and over again. Here is a short clip from the movie:


Lakes Part 2 (or, why I hate moving)

*I apologize in the delay in posting this, I just moved at the beginning of the month and have not only been crazy busy unpacking but also unable to use the internet due to disconnected wires. I hate moving.*

Before we delve into lake fishing techniques, let’s talk about tackle again.

Choosing the right products can make a big difference in being able to effectively fish a lake. The two most important tools are your rod and line. A decent reel is good if you are always targeting trophy fish, but in the grand scheme of things not as important as the others.

Rod preferences range from 9 – 10 feet and 3-6 wt, depending on angler and experience. While a 9’ 6wt is a great all round rod, it is a little heavy if all you’re planning on using it for is lakes. Most dedicated lake fishermen find that 9’6” or 10’ 4 and 5 weights are the best option. The longer rod gives more height off the water for casting, especially when in a float tube or V-boat. The length also makes it much easier to roll cast your line, and when you have long leaders and indicators this is a great way to get your line out without risking a tangle on a back cast. Going with a 4 or 5 wt is also much more fun to fight smaller fish with, and the lighter rods help protect finer tippets. Action of the rod is personal, although a medium to medium fast rod will have the power to cast in wind and punch out heavy rigs without being too fast on the hook set.

The most important line for a lake angler is the floating line. Again, most experienced anglers will have their own ideas about what is the best choice, but most would agree a high end line is important, not only for casting but for presentation. An all purpose line is a good choice for versatility – options like the SA GPX or Rio Gold. If you are doing a lot of naked chironomiding (not you, the line – no indicator) and are more focused on soft presentation, then a low memory line such as the SA Trout, Rio Selective Trout II or Airflo Ridge Tactical Trout are a good choice. However these lines are not as efficient in casting distance, casting into the wind, or turning over the long leader/indicator/split shot setups. Airflo’s 40+ and Rio or SA’s Nymph tapers are a much better choice in those situations. I have been using the Airflo Sixth Sense for a couple years, and am absolutely loving it. It excels at roll casting, punches out long, tight loops, turns over the big stuff and can (if I’m on my game) drop a size 16 dry like a feather. If you plan on fishing chironomids, have two rods rigged with floating lines ready to go.

Next are your sinking lines. Having two full sink lines with different sink rates is a good idea. A clear intermediate sinking line such as the SA Stillwater or the Cortland Clear Camo is essential for presenting nymphs in shallow clear water. Sinking at an average or 1 – 2 inches, they allow a horizontal presentation that is nearly invisible, and will allow you to fish up to 15 ft deep. A faster sinking line, usually a Type 3 or 4 is also an important line to have, to cover deeper water, those instances where you want to troll around, fast and aggressive retrieves in shallower water and deep line (25+ ft) chironomiding. There are regular sinking lines, and then there are density compensated sinking lines, where weight has been added to the front taper of the line in order to either maintain an even sink rate throughout the line or have the tip sink first. For trolling purposes, it doesn’t make much difference which line you use as the line is usually under constant tension. However when you decide to anchor up and cast and retrieve your line, having the density compensated line can make a big difference in your presentation. Some options are the SA Uniform Sink Plus, the Rio DC Lake Line or the Airflo Sixth Sense Sinking Line.

As far as reels go, unless you are targeting 10+ lb trout consistently, any reel that works is fine. I have everything from standard to large arbour, disc drag to click and pawl, low end to high end. I prefer having multiple reels as opposed to spools for the lines I use the most, and at least four rods rigged up and ready to go. I find it way too frustrating to change spools and re-rig rods while I am out on the water, and if you are in a small boat it can be nearly impossible. That being said there are many affordable reels that have a cassette style spool system, allowing you to have multiple spools without the cost. For those targeting the “big boys”, a large arbour reel with a decent drag is worth spending a few extra bucks on.

Terminal tackle:
I always carry a handful of tapered leaders with me, usually 9-10 ft in length, as well as multiple spools of tippet ranging from 4 lb test all the way up to 20 lb. Anytime I add tippet, except when fishing dries, I use fluorocarbon tippet material. It tends to be stronger (breaking strength to diameter), sinks faster, and becomes nearly invisible in the water compared to normal monofilament. A long leader is not necessary on your sinking lines, except when you are looking for a diving presentation or using your clear line casting to spooky fish in shallow water. You can build a short leader out of two or three pieces of tippet quite quickly. On the floating lines I use tapered leaders, lengthening them out as necessary. When chironomid fishing with indicators, especially over 15 ft, presentation is not as important as getting your fly down to the zone and keeping it there. In this case, add a straight section of 8, 12, or 16 lb test to a short butt section, and a couple feet of tippet to the end.
There are a million different choices for indicators, but some popular choices are the Thills Strike Indicators, which are plastic with a toothpick and very durable. They work well when fishing in shallower water, but once you start using longer leaders a quick release style like Phil Rowley’s or the new Balsa wood indicator by DNE are much easier and more convenient to use.
Always make sure you have either split shot, twistons, or sinking putty with you, as well as dry fly floatant.

Nippers, barb crushers, pliers, nail knot tool, thermometer, throat pump, clear vials, bottle opener and a good long handled catch & release net are essentials. Don’t leave home without them.

You can’t catch fish without them. Make sure you are well stocked on all of the essentials, and bring your tying kit if you’re going to be out for more than a couple of days. Sometimes, no matter how many flies you have, you still don’t have the right one. Being able to go back to camp and whip up a couple flies to match the hatch can be all the difference in the success of your trip.

When you’re packing around a lot of gear, you need to have a good system to keep things organized. There are several manufacturers that make great gear bags with dividers and multiple pockets to sort everything out. I personally am a fan of Fishpond products, and use their Cloudburst bag which has a hard molded bottom, tippet holder, rain cover, gunwale hooks, fly dock, and a ridiculous number of pockets. If you're in a float tube or v-boat, a vest or chest pack may come in handy as its difficult to fit a full gear bag in the pocket of your tube.

Layers are key. Weather and temperatures can change quickly and drastically on the lakes. Polypropelene base layers, fleece layers, wool socks, gloves, and a toque for cold weather; sandals, lightweight/quickdry pants and shirt, ball cap for warm weather; rain jacket, rain pants and/or waders for wet weather. Take them all with you, as it can be sunny and hot only to have thunderclouds roll in and the temperature to plummet. Even mid-summer it can get cold at night at high elevations, so if you're camping make sure you've got a good cold weather sleeping bag and warm clothes to sleep in.

More on boats, depth finders, and fishing technique to come.


Hooray, hooray, the first of May!!

The days are starting to get long, the nights warmer and evidence of spring is everywhere - in the flowers blooming, birds chirping and bugs flying. Today was another scorcher, after a particularily spectacular April here in the lower mainland.

For us fly fishers, May is really the start to THE most anticipated fishery of the year. This is when many put the finishing touches on their preparations for lake season. We are fortunate to be within hours of some of the most incredible stillwater fisheries once can ever experience. Merritt, Kamloops, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake, Quesnel, Princeton... the major centres from which a maze of dusty roads lead to literally thousands of bodies of water where all your fishing dreams can come true. Whatever your heart desires in lake fishing is available, whether you're after numbers or size, ease or difficulty, resorts or camping, paved roads or 4x4, big open water or secluded puddles, clear water and marl bottoms or tannin and weeds.

Rainbow trout are abundant in the interior of BC, helped along by an incredibly successful triploid program. I won't pretend I'm up on all the details of triploid stocking, but I do know that different strains of fish like Blackwater, Fraser Valley, Kamloops, Pennask, Tzenzicut and the odd Gerrard have been genetically bred into populations of all female, and all female non spawning fish, and that they grow fat and healthy with the incredible abundance of food available to them in interior lakes. The stocking is very carefully determined, with, for example, some lakes having a "trophy" lake designation and others managed as put and take fisheries. The process is incredibly elaborate, and the results speak for themselves.

The hardcore lake anglers have their boats set up, flies tied and rods ready after the first of April, preparing for ice off. This year has been a late start, but warm weather and good winds are clearing lakes by the day right now. After ice off, most lakes experience what we call turn over, where the different layers of water start to mix, pushing oxygen through the water column after the stagnant winter months. The fishing during this time can be very difficult, and hitting a lake just after this process is done is usually the goal. Most lakes will fish well until mid summer, when warm water temps slow down both the hatches and the fish, although there are certain destinations with great summer fishing. Then the fall fishery starts, with fewer hatches but with fish anxious to fill their bellies before the days cool and ice forms.

Due to the abundance of bug life, an angler's fly box must be extremely well stocked. Leeches, dragonfly nymphs, damselfly nymphs, mayfly nymphs and dries, caddis nymphs and dries, chironomid pupae and emergers, bloodworms, scuds, water boatman and backswimmers, ants and multi purpose patterns like Carey Specials and Doc Spratleys are all important patterns. And when there are several thousand different chironomid species alone, the task of choosing patterns can feel impossible. Devoted chironomid fishing addicts usually have a thousand and counting different chironomids in their fly box.

Then there is the tackle. It's a good idea to head out with at least two rods rigged up, if not more. I like to take two floating line setups, a clear intermediate line setup and a medium fast full sink line setup. Tapered leaders, full rolls of tippet, split shot or twistons, indicators, stomach pump, glass vials, nail knot tool, nippers, floatant, pliers, and long handled net all go in the boat. Then there is the boat itself. Everything from belly boats to u-boats to flat bottom prams are used. The most comfortable and useful is the pram, with its stability and ease of getting around. You don't have to wear waders, you can take more gear (more?) and for men, anyway, you can easily pee out of it. But then you need to get your boat set up, with a fish finder, oars, rod holders, anchor system with anchors, carpet on the floor, cushioned boat seat, drink holders and sometimes an electric motor.

It is easy to get carried away.

And really, you don't need to go to such lengths to be successful, but it is fun to be well equipped. But it is about the fish and the fishing, and both can be mind blowing. We have many lakes regularly producing 4-6 lb fish, with the odd bigger one, and some lakes have fish upwards of 15 lbs. A great day on a lake can be 50 fish to the boat, or it could be one stunning 12 lber. You can sight fish to cruisers on marl flats, or lay back in the sun and troll a leech around. You can make it as intense or laid back as you like, and its close enough to spend every weekend up there (if you can afford it or are allowed).

To discuss techniques would take me until the wee hours of next week, so we'll leave it at that for tonight. Lets just say its time to change focus, start tying chironnies, and reorganize gear. Its on!