Our Man In Canada
February 19th, 2001

Great Canadian Flies
Cedar Borer

By Arthur James Lingren

Cedar Borer

British Columbia's coastal streams are not prolific bearers of trout food and that is one of the reasons, wherever possible, trout migrated and became big in the bountiful sea. However, there are some rivers such as Haig-Brown's home river, the Campbell, and the Cowichan where there is a mix of anadromous and resident trout. Sea-run cutthroat and resident rainbows in the Campbell and Cowichan are not that particular and will take advantage of whatever food comes their way, even food of a terrestrial sort.

The coastal forest of British Columbia abound in insect life and every now and then some accidentally find their way into the water. Haig-Brown knew this and knew that the large terrestrial beetle was often found in the stomachs of fish and that fly fishers could profit by an imitation.

About the Cedar Borer, in his The Western Angler notebook, after listing the fly's ingredients he admitted his fly "maybe not a good imitation but fish take it well enough." However, Haig-Brown realized that many flies work some of the time and that no fly works all the time. Having a broad-based experience fishing from youth in England, spending some time fishing in Washington State when he first came to North America, and with close to ten years fishing in British Columbia, he knew what types of flies catch fish. In the same notebook, about some of his patterns such as the Brown and Black caterpillars and the Cedar Borer, he says:

none of these flies are "sure killers" Is there such a thing? But in the right hands they catch all the fish one needs. Plenty of others just as good, but I haven't found any much better.
In a note following his listing of the Cedar Borer ingredients in The Western Angler (1939), Haig-Brown says that "this is a freak-looking fly" but trout in coastal streams take this beetle whenever they happen to appear in the water and that "it is rather comforting to have even the roughest imitation" (Vol.II, p.175). As a closing note, he says that his "dressing takes fish well under these conditions."


Hook:  Number 6 or 8.

Body:  Mixed blue and emerald green seal fur.

Rib:  Fine, oval gold tinsel and bronze peacock herl.

Wing:  Peacock sword.

Originator:  Roderick Haig-Brown.

Intended Use:  Wet fly for cutthroat and rainbow trout.

Location:  Campbell River, B.C. Canada.
~ Arthur James Lingren

Credits: From Fly Patterns of British Columbia by Arthur James Lingren. We thank Frank Amato Publications, Inc. for use permission!

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