It’s absolutely pouring rain in BC this week, so you can bet the rivers are fast and turbid… not so easy to
get out for the weekend. What better time to get tying flies! A stockpile of great flies is one of your best assets on the water.
Since the sport began, fly fishermen have been making artificial flies to imitate the thousands of insects the fish feed on, in all their life stages. Originally, only natural materials like fur and feathers we used, but now flashy synthetics have a place alongside the more traditional elements.
The Prince George Fly Fisher has a nice library of a variety of flies – either to inspire a weekend of tying or to ogle. He aims to match the hatch as much as possible, and has adapted some classics to his own taste. In the south of the province, we don’t have arctic grayling or whitefish, but the suggestions for trout and bull trout would work on any of the rivers where Holy Waters has guides for fly fishing, such as the Columbia, Elk, Kootenay, Salmo, Slocan, Pitt, Squamish and Fraser Rivers.
Many of the patterns are attributed to Danie Erasmus, who’s apparently a genius when it comes to insect juveniles.
My philosophy on fly tying is to imitate the natural (insects and other invertebrates) as close as possible… even if it means going down to a size 26 dry fly.
To do this you need to know what is available. You need to know what the food look like, what size it is, its colour and behaviour. Remember that matching size and colour of your imitation (fly) to the natural (food -insect or other invertebrate) is just one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is your presentation -depth, type and speed of retrieval.
Many fly fisherman get into fly tying as part of a natural progression with the sport. It becomes second nature to have a tying kit on hand on any river, the easier to try a new pattern on the fly.