Fishing the fly in BC lakes
Steelheader News
  A seminar just when our licenses are due -- a brilliant idea.
  Saturday April 5, 2003 was just the right day for me to get away from it all and lose myself in a great day of learning. Learning, that is, about that favorite activity among many of us – fly-fishing. Hub sports put on a most enjoyable day of events for inquiring minds.
  Is there a better pursuit than fly fishing encompassing so much in one sport? Exercise, outdoors, wildlife, entomology, fly tying, fine art, deception of quarry and more. That Saturday for me was a welcome change and an inspiration. Notable among key speakers were Phil Rowley and Kevin Longard.
  First off was Phil Rowley’s seminar on the basics of lake fishing. He preambled his lecture by explaining to us that a lot of the skills we use in river fishing are transferable to lake fishing. But as it turned out a lot of us nurtured our skills on BC lakes.
  Phil Rowley was a well organized and informative speaker and every point he made was immensely practical and helpful. Phil, I hope you don’t mind if I jot down a few of your points; I’m sure that most readers will find the information as precious as I did. Following are many of the points that Phil shared with us at his seminar sponsored by Hub sports.
  By nature the rainbow trout’s prime haunts can be typified in three ways: Comfort(current), protection, and search for food.
  Contrary to the idea of sunny clear blue skies and a lake surface as smooth as glass the trout finds security under a windy rippled surface and most often resides in water less than twenty feet deep. The quarry also often finds refuge in algae patches and more than not prefers low diffuse light as opposed to strong brilliant light.
  Areas in lakes resting on drop offs are favorites as well. Trout can flee to the safety of greater depths if startled in shoals and tend to run in and out of shoal areas. Phil said that he personally casts parallel to the drop off often counting numbers out loud to check the level that the fly sinks. He noted that during his adventures he has seen trout travel paths similar to game paths that big game travel but of course in terms of swim paths amidst the shoals. When fishing shoals he also notes that anglers should approach them from the deep water side rowing or with an electric motor.
  Another helpful hint is the use of Bathymetric Maps – Bcadventure.com is a good source for these. These maps outline the lakes subsurface structure and provide the angler with good clues for finding trout. Rowley stressed that trout like structure which can provide them with sources of protection.
  Temperature is an incredibly important factor in not only the trouts case but in the entire cycle of insect hatches and photosynthesis. It’s recommended that you carry a thermometer with you to test the lake when looking for that ideal 55 - 65 degree (Fahrenheit) trout getaway. As well, the ideal ph. factor is 7. Rowley says, "10% of the lake holds 90% of the fish."
  In addition he points out it’s important to understand the seasons of the lake and to eliminate areas and clues that don’t fit the picture with respect to ideal trout habitat. One area that I hadn’t really thought about was a spring. The spring can provide an even temperature all year ‘round thus being ideal for trout and hatches.
  Another handy tool is the barometer. Barometric pressure affects the fish through its swim bladder and as with temperature in springs fish prefer steady pressure. Often a lowering trend in barometric pressure indicates that a storm is approaching which can be less productive with hook and hackle.
  Rowley went on to explain that trout find food in shoals where there is good sunlight penetration thus fostering photosynthesis and insect hatches. Weed beds are good places to find trout looking for food.
  The most important clue that Phil provided however was simply to observe. Look at the hatches or shucks in the water, search the shorelines for insect hatches and clues, learn to listen to mother nature and observe – she provides all the clues you need. For instance look for fish rolling on the surface or swallows swooping down on hatches.
  To find exactly what trout are eating use a throat pump. Finding live chironomids in a trout for instance means the fish is actively feeding whereas dead contents can mean the trout has not been activelyfeeding. Again observe the clues. According to Rowley a lot of the fish that he has studied in the Kamloops region had ingested large numbers of chironomids and to a lesser extent scuds. And as a matter of anecdotal reference Rowley says that trout are predominantly in the upper column or the bottom column of water or somewhere near the top or bottom similar to rivers.
  The last gadget that Rowley recommends are binoculars.
  In concluding his seminar on basic trout lake angling Phil reiterated two points: 1) Comfort (zone) - proper temperature, oxygen and barometric pressure and 2) Protection - water surface, light, structure/vegetation and water depth. Phil recommended focusing on weed beds, shoal areas, insect life cycles, food sources and behaviors.
  After the seminar came the tour of the hot items for sale at unbelievable prices that Roger Dornan, owner of Hub Sports in Abbotsford, is known for – ie. , float tubes for $59.95 . . . unbelievable.
  To round off the day Kevin Longard taught all of us a refresher on fly casting in his comedic and entertaining manner.
  The loop was the most important part of casting and we payed particular attention to it ie. , if you move your wrist back and forth while casting your loop formation goes all to pot – so to speak. During casting it’s important to keep your arm at your side and to use a rigid wrist.
  Two casts reviewed as well, which incidentally are extremely important in river fishing, are the roll cast where you lift the rod in front of you and flip the loop out and the steeple cast where the cast is sent up high in the air at about a one o’clock angle almost straight up from the back of your head. Both casts are used in restricted back cast scenarios.
  During normal casting circumstances, looking at the caster from the side, the actual casting angles are between about 11am and 1pm on the clock – with a drop in the rod tip after the forward cast.
  When casting into the wind Longard crouched down and casted horizontal to the surface and from the side. As well, while casting into the wind Longard attempted a tighter loop.
  Longard also reviewed the double haul – the cast I still have problems with - the line hand makes a jerky down and up motion while lifting the line off the water and again when propelling the loop from the back cast. Kevin made the double haul look so easy and rhythmic in contrast to my attempts which looked like a drunken boxing match.
  With what appears to be the certain demise of pacific salmon on the west coast of BC it’s comforting to know that there will almost always be trout to fish in the lakes of this great province. You can’t go too far wrong with the fly.

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