“How heavy of leader should I be running?”, this is a very common question that comes up often in emails from readers as well as guests on the boat during guided fly fishing trips. Everyone has a different way of doing it, but I like to keep it very simple by finishing my leaders with 6 pound test in almost all situations. This is usually following sections of either 2x or 3x for the butt section, which allows for easier turnover and in the event of breaking off you will not likely lose more than just your tippet.
On each and every day of Stillwater fishing, there are four rods rigged and ready to go in the boat at all times. During both spring and fall season, this does not vary a whole lot aside from changing fly lines to match a specific situation. Here is a quick rundown on each setup:
Rods #1 & 2 – Floating Line/Indicator: Probably 80% of our Stillwater fishing is done with a floating line setup, and a large majority of that floating line fishing is done with a strike indicator setup. Leader length will vary depending on the depth of water being fished, and sometimes one rod (or both) will be stripped of the indicator for naked line chironomid or scud fishing.
There are few things that can put the missing piece to the puzzle like taking a throat sample. When done properly it does not harm the fish, and you can get an exact reading on what the fish are choosing to eat on that given day. Throat sampling is essentially drawing up what the fish has recently eaten, and you can expect most of the bugs to still be alive.
Super, super nerdy. I mean, I really try to tell as few people as possible that I like to force fish to regurgitate the bugs they ate for lunch, so that I can put them in a glass vial and take photos of them with a macro lens. However, this does allow you to get a perfect idea of what can be created at the tying bench.
Fall is upon us, and some of the best Stillwater fly fishing in the Kamloops area is underway. Cool nights, comfortable daytime temperatures, and fish that are actively willing to eat! Fall can present some excellent chironomid fishing, in fact some lakes will fish equal or better in the fall compared to the springtime months. Here are three flies not to leave home without:
1) Simple Dubbed Micro Leech
There was a time when I thought that depth sounders were cheating. How could someone just attach this little mechanism onto their boat, be able to see the whole underwater world and still call it fair game? This all changed when I broke down and purchased a Humminbird Fishin’ Buddy 120 (which I still use to this day!).
Why have I not upgraded? Because I don’t quite feel the need yet! There are so many great sounders on the market now that undoubtedly offer much more than the one I am using, but as long as I have the following three things I feel I can execute accordingly from there. The only three things (in my opinion) your sounder needs to do are, in order of importance, as follows:
In a split moment of unconscious decision, I steered the vehicle off the highway onto the gravel road. I had a guest that had no experience in fly fishing, why did I feel so drawn to put the boat into a lake that had yielded me just as many days of disappointment as it had glory in the past? Memories of hopelessly watching my strike indicators for hours on end ran through my mind, contrasted by fonder memories of rainbow trout pushing the magical ten-pound mark.
“Would someone who has never experienced Stillwater fly fishing even appreciate landing a trophy sized rainbow trout?”, I attempted to replace doubt with hope as the vehicle neared the launch. The lake was glass, there was only one other boat on the water, and as the seventeen-footer slid off the trailer I began to get excited about what could take place on this day. I turned the key and we slowly glided along the water’s smooth surface film in search of hatching bugs or moving fish.
There are few things more relieving than sliding a fish into the basket and having a moment to take a breath. There are scenarios where a net is not necessary, but more often than not a net will be your best friend when bringing a big fish to hand. Not only does it increase your landing ratio, but a fish-friendly net will decrease your catch-and-release mortality and impact on our fisheries.
What makes a good net? Here are a few things to look for:
Floatability: I once had a customer come into the fly shop I was working at and complained that his new $200 net sunk to the bottom of the lake while he was releasing a fish. The net itself was a work of art but liberally varnished and very heavy. When choosing a net, make sure that you have the freedom to use both hands to release a fish without worrying about the dent it may make in your pocket.
Crisp morning air, leaves transitioning to vibrant shades of gold, yellow and red, fall is a special time of year. Each year when the water temperatures begin to drop back to their prime levels and fish become active after a hot summer, it is amazing to me how overlooked this fishery is during the months of September and October. Do not make it seem like this is upsetting, it is much more enjoyable showing up to my favourite lakes and having the launch to myself.
It has been a hot minute since a new blog post has been written! Apologies, work has a way of consuming a hell of a lot of time through the busy months. Couple that with not having access to wi-fi for the last 5 weeks and it makes things a bit tricky. Luckily, we are at Stoney Lake Lodge this weekend for the 2018 Youth Fly Camp and things are off to a stellar start!
This event is for youth under 16 years old, and it is incredible to see such young people interested in the sport of fly fishing. This morning I was lucky enough to take two young anglers aged 11 and 12 on the water, after a few missed opportunities I got to watch their eyes light up as one nice rainbow after another hit the net.
It is hard to believe that another spring stillwater season has come and gone already, I would like to extend a sincere thank you to everyone from Canada and the United States that came to fish with us this spring. It is amazing to have people come from all over to experience the incredible fishery that Kamloops has to offer.
I will be guiding in a land far, far away for the months of July & August, but will be back in Kamloops for our September/October stillwater fishery. A lot of people ask how the fishing is in the fall, and I can honestly say that I would take fall over spring. There are far fewer anglers, and the fishing is absolutely incredible.
Here is a small selection of my favourite photos from our 2018 spring stillwater fly fishing season, enjoy!
A Brook Trout that is carrying some serious weight!
A pair of big rainbows cruising in 4 feet of water in search of Hyalella shrimp
The ladies hooked up on a double header, this was their first day ever fly fishing!
8 pounds of rainbow trout that fell victim to a #18 Zucchini chironomid pupa
A nice rainbow taking flight as a storm cell closes in
A common sight during the stillwater season on our local Kamloops lakes