Brook Trout, or “Brookies”, are a member of the char family and inhabit many lakes throughout the interior of British Columbia. They fight differently than a lot of our rainbow trout, preferring to hang underneath the boat over launching themselves into the air. Typically the runs consist of short bursts, typical with many char species.
It is no secret that spring stillwater fishing in the interior of BC is a great time. During this event led by Brian Chan and Phil Rowley, two days were spent at Corbett Lake Lodge followed by another two at Stoney Lake Lodge. The food, the people, the experience, it was an event I am very grateful to have been able to work alongside some of my favourite people in the fly fishing industry.
Here are a few photos that brought back great memories from last week’s adventures:
The 1756 G3 ready to do work on Corbett Lake, BC
Phil Rowley putting a nice rainbow in the basket caught in shallow water
Brennan Lund with an after-hours rainbow caught on the surface at Corbett Lake
The evening shift. Photo: Brennan Lund
Brian Chan explaining what ingredients make a productive trout lake
Steve hooked up on a nice Corbett Lake rainbow
A nice fish that took a size 18 dark brown/copper rib chironomid pupa 6 feet under the surface
Marty hooked up on a nice rainbow caught on a chironomid
Weather and fishing have both been excellent in the Kamloops area the last week. Lakes below 3,000 feet are seeing some great mid-day chironomid hatches and the fish have really been on them. Some of the high elevation lakes are turning or just cleaning up right now, and some are still frozen rock solid.
Best flies for lower elevation lakes that have already turned over and are seeing prominent emergences have been chironomids in the way of the Zucchini, Black/Red Rib, Chromie/Brown Rib in sizes 16 and 18.
Sometimes the fishing is so good it feels like you couldn’t miss if you tried. Other times, it feels like you couldn’t pay one a thousand dollars to get one to eat. Challenging days can be frustrating, but they push you to think outside the box. When the methods you typically rely on fail, it is the perfect time to try something new.
A nice rainbow that recently fell victim to a UV Sunburst blob on an SA S3/S5 full sink with the double-hand strip technique
A method that is more commonly seen fishing Tarpon during a Palolo worm hatch, the double-handed strip is actually very effective for fishing patterns such as water boatmen, boobies and blobs. The steady but erratic retrieve accompanied by a few pauses is a great way to trigger a reaction bite.
Aside from a drizzly couple days over the weekend, spring showed up in full force over the last week. Spring stillwater guiding season is underway and the fishing was excellent on Tuesday through Friday, with solid chironomid emergences taking place on a few of the sunny afternoons we experienced.
Lakes in the 3,000-3,500 elevation mark are icing off, with some of the lower elevation lakes already finishing the turnover stage and clearing nicely. The best flies for us last week were UV Tequila blobs fished on Scientific Anglers’ SD S3/S5 full sinking line in the morning, with #18 chromie/brown rib being the chironomids of choice.
Choosing a reel can be confusing for a first-time buyer. A plethora of different brands, drag systems, colours and spool diameters, here are a few things I look for in a reel:
Arbor: Reels come in three primary arbor diameters: Small arbor, mid-arbor and large arbor. What does this mean for you? Because fly reels are a 1:1 ratio the larger the arbor means the more line pickup per rotation. In English, that means it will be easier to catch up to a fish that is running towards you. I like a mid to large arbor reel with a smooth ingoing click (or no click at all) that allows for speedy pickup to eliminate the amount of slack line a fish will have to work with. Less slack line = fewer fish lost.
Nothing is worse than showing up to your favourite early-season lake to find poor visibility and floating debris all over the place. While it does put fish down due to lack of consistent oxygen levels, it is not impossible to catch fish during lake turnover. What is turnover? Check out one of Brian Chan‘s articles on understanding spring turnover.
One of the first things I will adjust while fishing during turnover is my expectations. Turnover is often the most challenging and inconsistent period of the season, I do not fish a lake in turnover and expect to have outstanding results. I have had good fishing during turnover, but more often than not it does not present much consistency.
Stillwater season, the most wonderful time of the year, has officially arrived. This week’s forecast is surely going to get some ice moving around and we should see plenty of fishing options start to open up in the next 10 days or so. Here’s 3 tips to help out with early season stillwater that can be very productive or very puzzling.
1) Move Often
Early season means cold water. Cold water means that fish aren’t going to be cruising the shoals at Mach speeds in search of food. Sometimes the first few weeks that a lake is ice-free involves doing some searching to find feeding fish. Don’t be afraid to move around a little bit more than often and you will be rewarded.
Not only are they both great guys, but Brian Chan & Phil Rowley both know a thing or two in the stillwater fly fishing world. They have pioneered many of the techniques that we use today, without people like them this tight-knit community wouldn’t be the same.
The Stillwater Fly Fishing App has made it easier than ever to carry a plethora of information with you in your pocket anywhere you go. I have used this app since the day it came out and it is a lifetime of valuable information packed into one smartphone app.
Once upon a time, I think I called everything a “twenty-incher”. I was young, new to fly fishing and wanted to impress my elders. Can anyone guess what the most shocking item I purchased that year was? Yes, a tape measurer.
How could this happen though? All of a sudden my 20 inchers were 16 inches long, my 22 inchers were 18 inches long, and all of a sudden I gained a whole new appreciation for the “twenty-inchers” that I had been landing left right and center the last few years.