Sport fishing column for Feb 11 to 18, 2013

One sultry afternoon I was sitting on a freshet-deposited log by the Willow pool. Struggling to tie a segment of a gull feather to a hook with yard unraveled from a sock, when a shadow fell across me?

"Well, then," Dick said in his lilting voice. "Is it a fly you'll be making?"

He leaned closer to look.

"Ach!" he snorted in disgust. "That's not the way of it at all?"

?From a creel even larger and more battered than our auction basket, he took a tin box that had once held a hundred Players Navy Cut cigarettes. He chose a small pair of scissors from the box, also a darning needle set in a wooden handle, and a spool of black thread. Then he reached for my aborted fly, stripped the gull feathers of it, and with deliberately slow movements? proceeded through the stages of constructing a Plain Coachman?

What he had made, explaining each move as he proceeded, was an elegant trout fly.

"Now, then," he commanded. "Let's see you tie one."

Under his coaching, with many a fumble and considerable waste of material, I concocted a fly of sorts. When it was time for the wings, Dick checked me.

"We'll make this a hair wing," he told me. "At times there's nothing will beat a hair wing."

The above passage was taken from the book "My Father, My Friend," by author Arthur Mayse.

One facet of sport fishing that draws an excessive amount of curmudgeonly conduct is in the art of fly tying. There is at the end of the day, only two types of flies; those that catch fish and those that catch fisherman. As a fly tying instructor I lean toward letting the fish judge the caliber of another's fly tying ability.

Many a student has heard me say, as I looked over their first roughly constructed first flies, "They'll work;" and for the most part they will. After-all fish are nearly as critical as an old curmudgeon.

As with most things in life and fishing, no-one starts out as an expert; perfection comes with time and practice. Hence the verse, "I did not ask you for your caviling, I asked you for your help."

The Report

Our lower mainland lakes are fishing well. Try a slow troll or retrieve, close to shore, mid morning through mid afternoon, with: Bloodworm, Chironomid, Zulu, Wooly Bugger, Wooly Worm, Big Black, Doc Spratley, or Baggy Shrimp.

The Fraser River sloughs and backwaters are good for cutthroat and dolly varden. For cutthroat Try: Rolled Muddler, Professor, Anderson Stone, Black Stone, Zulu, American Coachman, Flesh Fly, or Chez Nymph. For dolly varden try large (size #4 to 2) Eggo, Clouser's Deep Minnow, Tied Down Minnow, Roller Muddler, Dolly Whacker, Big Black, Kaufmann Stone, or Flesh Fly.

The Harrison River is good for cutthroat and rainbow. For rainbow try: Kaufmann Stone, Big Black, Wooly Bugger, Black Gnat, Souboo, Zulu, or Renegade.

The Chehalis River is fair to slow for steelhead, and rainbow. For steelhead try: Steelhead Nightmare, Kaufmann Stone, Polar Shrimp, GP, Popsicle, Squamish Poacher, Big Black, Flat Black, or Steelhead Spratley.

The Vedder River is good for steelhead, rainbow, dolly varden, and cutthroat.