The Most Humbling Piece of Equipment in Fishing: The Tape Measurer

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. read more

3 Essential Stillwater Ice-Off Patterns

Finally back and settled from a long day of travel that started at 5:00am in Houston, Texas returning from Tarponville Fishing Lodge in Costa Rica.  Tomorrow there will be a full recap of the trip, safe to say it is one of the most incredible fisheries I’ve ever experienced.

Despite the current weather in the interior of British Columbia, ice-off is right around the corner.  Fishing the first few days after the ice leaves a lake can be tricky, but when approached properly will yield some great results.  Here are a few patterns I swear by during the ice-off period: read more

Stillwater Fly Fishing: Early Season Shallow Water

It’s official, ice-off is coming and each day that passes we are closer and closer to putting the boat in open water!  Fishing the first few days of ice-off can be excellent, and can also become challenging.  I love fishing shallow water, and the first place I will usually start searching in the first few days of open water is in the shallow flats.

Fish will often cruise from the safety of the deep water into the shallows to feed, before returning back to where they feel most comfortable.  Staple food sources such a freshwater shrimp, leeches, immature damselfly nymphs, and bloodworms are all readily available and make for an easy early-season meal. read more

Stillwater Fly Fishing: Using Throat Samples to Determine Depth

Throat pumps are one of the great tools of stillwater fly fishing.  When used correctly, they do not harm the fish at all and allow you to see exactly what was on the recent menu.  They become very effective during a chironomid hatch, as what’s in the throat pump can give you a great idea how deep you should be fishing.

When a chironomid pupa transforms from a larva and ascends the water column, they will build up a gas inside of their abdomen.  This is what gives them the silvery sheen that is often referred to as a “chromie”.  Seeing this silvery chironomid pupa in a throat sample is a great indication that fish may not be feeding all that close to bottom.  Typically, fish that are stuffed with shiny chironomid pupa are actually suspended in the water column.  Using a depth sounder to pick up fish will give you confirmation of this. read more

Fly Tying: The Cranberry Larva

Though it was -9C when I got in the truck this morning, I know that we are almost halfway through March and ice-off is not all too far away.  Laying eyes on an ice-free interior lake you’ve been dreaming of since December is one of the best feelings in the world for an obsessed angler.

This tutorial covers one of my favourite ice-off patterns.  This fly has proven effective for over five seasons now in the early windows of spring stillwater as well as late fall and even mid-summer lake fishing.  The cranberry holographic Flashabou is (in my opinion) what makes this pattern.  It is dulled a little bit by the red scud backing but I believe that is a good thing.  A subtle amount of sparkle from the holo flash mixed with the true hemoglobin colour that the red scud backing brings is a deadly combination. read more

Michael & Young Chironomid Fishing Courses – Saturday, March 24th

Find chironomid fishing frustrating, boring or downright futile sometimes?  Have you had some success but still want to further your knowledge?

Calling all of those on the Lower Mainland of BC, don’t forget about the two upcoming “Intro to Chironomid Fishing” courses at Michael & Young Fly Shop on Saturday, March 24th.

This course runs three hours in length and includes the following:

Proper boat setup

How to approach trophy stillwater fisheries

Locating and effectively covering a chironomid emergence read more

Stillwater Fly Fishing: Three Tips on Fishing Two Rods Simoultaneously

In BC we are not allowed to fish two flies while stillwater fishing in a boat alone, but we are allowed to fish two rods and this is something everyone should take complete advantage of.  Time on the water is not unlimited, so why not maximize your chances each and every time out?

Fishing two rods at once allows you to capitalize and experiment when fishing is good, as well as the opportunity to see what is (or isn’t) working when things are slow.  Here’s a few things to help when fishing two rods at the same time: read more

Fly Tying: How to Tie a UV Pregnant Shrimp

Freshwater shrimp, or scuds, are a staple item in a trout’s diet.  From the day the ice comes off until the day it goes back on, shrimp are never a bad option to tie on during periods of slow fishing or early/late in the day.

This particular fly is one of the only shrimp patterns I fish.  I gained a huge appreciation for it during a day of ice-off stillwater fishing in April of 2011.  Fishing was incredibly slow, I had only hooked two fish all day and went into a shallow flat that wasn’t more than 3 feet deep for last light. read more

Stillwater Fly Fishing: How Often is Too Often to Change Flies?

We’ve all felt it.  Pure desperation, that helpless feeling of somehow not being able to get one single fish to eat the wrong bug, fly fishing can downright hurt your feelings sometimes.  The fish show up on the sounder and the occasional sound of splashing on the surface assures you that surely they do exist, but it just isn’t happening.  It’s easy to put blame on your fly choice, and sometimes it takes many changes to find “the one”, but how often is too often? read more

How to Approach “Trophy” Stillwater Fisheries

We are blessed with a huge number of what would be considered trophy stillwater fisheries in the interior of BC.  Lakes that hold some of the biggest triploid rainbow trout in the province, fish that will push well over the thirty-inch mark.  Is it difficult? Of course, they grow to these sizes for a reason.

These lakes are a test, they can be mentally draining if you approach them with the wrong mindset.  Do no push your boat into a trophy lake with the idea that you are guaranteed to have lights-out action the whole day.  Mindset is everything, accept the fact that you might come away empty handed and that’s okay.  I couldn’t even count the number of times I have been totally blanked by lakes like this without even an interaction with a single fish over an 8+ hour period. read more

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