Great Canadian Flies
By Arthur James Lingren
When Rod Haig-Brown was writing TheWestern Angler, he visited
Paul Lake and met the then-already-famous William Nation, angler's guide, and
through 1938 and in '39 they corresponded, mostly on fly tying and pattern development.
In an April 1938 letter to Haig-Brown, Nation, about this plain black fly, says:
"I enclose a very simple fly that I have worked out in imitation of the chironomids, slim
black silk body, six strands of brown coast bucktail over and four under, #7 best, often
take fish up to 8 pounds on it."
When The Western Angler was published in 1939, Haig-Brown,
when discussing "Some Fauna of Interior Lake" on the insect "Order Diptera.
Two-winged flies," says:
Of this group of aquatic two-winged flies, I believe the chironomids are the most
important to the fly fishermen. They . . . come to the surface while the ice is still
leaving the lakes, thus making the earliest fishing. They also bring the fish up well
at other stages of the season, and are often sufficiently numerous to cause at least
a degree of selective feeding. Generally speaking, fish take the emerging pupae rather
than the fly . . . but if there is anything at all to be said for exact imitation in sunk flies
for Kamloops trout, it would seem that this is the field that should offer the brightest
prospects; success would mean extremely attractive fishing at times when there is
now little more than the off chance of picking up the occasional fish . . .Nation's
Black is, so far as I know, the only imitation that has been developed especially
for Kamloops waters (Vol 1. pp. 115-116).
Haig-Brown gave sage advice about this area of fly development when he commented
that this field offered 'bright prospects." Hoever, even though Nation developed
British Columbia's, if not North America's, first chironomid pupa imitation, the
development of chironomid fishing progressed slowly in British Columbia and
elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest. It wasn't until the more educated, entomology-aware
fly fishers of the 1960s and 1970s started developing new patterns and they discovered
complementing fly-fishing techniques that chironomid fishing flourished. Now that a
serious chironomid fly fishers have refined this fly fishing technique to a science,
often with subsequent astounding catches, most stillwater enthusiasts depend upon
chironomid for much of their early and late season fly-fishing catches.
Hook: Number 7.
[Publisher's Note] Paul Nation was the originator of many other wet flies, including
Nation's Blue, Nation's Fancy, Nation's Grey and Green Nymphs, Nation's Green
Sedge, Nation's Red, Nation's Silver-tip, Nation's Silver-tipped Sedge and the Nation's
Body: Black machine silk.
Throat: Four hairs from a brown, coast, bucktail.
Wing: Six hairs from a brown, coast, bucktail.
Originator: Bill Nation.
Intended Use: Wet fly for rainbow trout.
Location: Paul Lake.
~ 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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