Vedder River Coho Patterns by Hall of Famer Bill Turnbull
"These 2 -3 step fly patterns are fast and easy to tie during the fishing season"

1 Billís half prac

2 Billís pink vibrator

3 Billís wizard

4 Billís fast and slick

5 Billís fuzzy shrimp

6 Billís afternoon

  Bill sometimes weights these flies for effective movement. He says, "fish like you donít want them to get the fly- thatíll get the coho chasing them."
 Billís Steelhead Special - recipe for fisaster:  [pink chenille head 2-3 wraps and 1/3 down body Ė lots of pink marabou -- flat oval tinsel up to bend Ėtie head over the pink marabou]- more on that later.

Bill Turnbull: Hall of Fame
Terry Hanson
The Steelheader News
  It all began during the summer of 1960. Bill moved from Ontario with his family to Sunnyside Park at Cultus Lake. The ten year old fished Vedder River the first day he arrived. What followed was the development of one of BCís finest fly fishermen.
  While observing Bill flyfish the Stillaguamish during later years, Northwest USAís foremost fly-fishing publisher, Frank Amato reacted to being outfished by Turnbull with "does he always do that?" Billís fishing partner replied "he skunks me all the time."
  Before leaving Ontario for B.C., Bill visited the local library to research the area that he knew was to become his new stomping grounds. He had read and heard a lot about cutthroat and salmon fishing in B.C. Understandably, he was excited. Originally Bill began his fishing career by plunking a worm in the pools of a small creek that trickled through his grandfatherís farm enroute to Lake Ontario. He also fished the lake. There he caught chub, rock fish, bass, sun fish, cat fish, carp, crappy and the odd trout. But somehow he knew that the thrill of a lifetime lay on the other side of the Rockies. In anticipation, his father bought him a fly-rod, a floating line and a fly-reel.
 That first summer on the Vedder was memorable. Trout, Dolly Varden and Whitefish were plentiful. Heíd tie a dew worm and perhaps a split shot to his fly outfit and search the reaches of Sweltzer Creek down through to Vedder Crossing. Concocting a bait knot-like rig to fix the worm firmly to his hook, he could cast the fly line comfortably without losing the slender wiggly little morsel. Then as with many beginners this fishing affair, guided by the power of the worm, developed into a lifelong passion for fly-fishing.
  Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Abbotsford where Bill bicycled to local streams and sloughs on weekends angling for whatever stalked the waters. The Vedder Canal was also within bicycling distance and proved to be a successful target for many of his excursions. During a trip to Sumas River Bill recalls catching his first coho. The ten-pounder kicked up quite a fuss but he was able to land the fish.
  Water levels in the Vedder Canal were much lower in earlier years. The waterway was full of stumps, barren and without anglers. Bill fished these waters seriously for salmon and steelhead using a fly-rod, a spinning reel and small spinners. Meppís Anglia #2 was a favourite until he started to develop his own spoons which in the final analysis fished better on a dead downstream drift than the Meppís.
  1972 was the year that Bill struck a sincere interest in fly fishing only. He read the old English Chalk stream accounts on casting technique, fly-tying and various other accounts on rod building and line splicing. He devoted the period 1972-88 entirely to fly fishing and to learning as much as possible about the river.
  Observations made while swimming and snorkeling the Vedder led to greater understanding of how fish behave in their somewhat amorphous environment. He discovered that the technique he developed to catch whitefish, using a stonefly nymph, also worked in pursuit of salmon and steelhead.
  During the summer of í75 Bill began fishing summer-run steelhead on the Stillaguamish River in Washington State. Washington officials had designated reaches of the Stilly fly-fishing only. On his first visit to the river he met an older American chap who was generous enough to share the afternoon and trade with him. He caught his first summer-run in the Stilly after learning such techniques as mending and the art of keeping track of your fly/leader in the current.
  Casting techniques became apparent from studying an assortment of sportfishing magazines. Wet fly practice is the most common: cast 45degrees downstream while mending line upstream as the fly arcs around. Thereís also the greased line technique: cast approximately 90 degrees out and mend the line as it arcs around, thus avoiding drag. The dry fly techinque: cast upstream and mend as the fly floats downriver. And thereís the curious technique, sometimes referred to as the coho cast, casting slightly upstream with no mend; while the current drags the fly into a horseshoe pattern feed line into the loop, then put the brakes on the line Ė the fly travels rather quickly through the semicircular pattern.
  This mending business means simply picking the line up off the current when it starts to belly while lifting the line with rod and wrist upstream to avoid drag on the fly.
  Apart from studying and developing technique, Bill designs his own fly lines, shooting heads, and ties original fly patterns. Bill Turnbull is well known for his fly pattern: Pink Marabou, Early Morning and 1/2 Prac-half of a General Practitioner.

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