Our Man In Canada
April 5th, 2004

Famous British Columbia
Fly-Fishing Waters
By Art Lingren

The Bill Nation Kamloops Area Lakes, Part 4

Brian Chan

Inspired by masters like Jack Shaw, Heber Smith, Barney Rushton and others and through an inquisitive scientific mind, Brian Chan honed his skills as a stillwater fly-fisher over three decades and is now synonymous with Kamloops' lake fly-fishing. Chan, a fishery biologist by profession working for provincial fisheries, transferred to Kamloops in the early 1970s. Over the years since he moved to what he claims is trout-fishing paradise, he has become the undisputed master of stillwater, fly-fishing techniques, with a specific interest in Chironomid fishing, his fly-fishing love.

Chan makes fishing Chironomids sound easy and claims that it is once you understand the life cycle of the Chironomid. Chan's book, Flyfishing Strategies for Stillwaters, published in 1991 provides some insight into that subject. In his book, Chan details the entomology of most trout foods available in British Columbia's still-water fisheries, plus much more on how to catch stillwater trout. He recommends two Chironomid fishing techniques. The floating line with varying lengths of leader from 12 to 24 feet depending on the depth of water to be fished. The pupae should be fished close to the bottom with a dead-slow retrieve or wind drift. However, in the deeper water, often a full-sinking line is effective when it is permitted to sink to the vertical and slowly retrieved.

In 1999, Morris & Chan on Fly Fishing Trout Lakes co-authored by Brian Chan and Skip Morris was released. Brian also teaches fly-fishing and entomology through fishing schools and stars in his videos Flyfishing Strategies for Stillwaters, Vol. I and II.

With its myriad lakes, in addition to those lakes highlighted in this chapter, the Kamloops area lures many fly-fishers to its productive waters. About the Bill Nation lakes, Chan sums up their current status and writes:

Paul Lake

"The current fishery is made up of about 60% wild recruitment and 40% annual stocking. We are releasing yearling Pennask strain rainbows and Blackwater strains. The Blackwaters are definitely feeding on the shiners, to what extent they will impact the shiner population is not known. Suffice to say this strain of rainbows are getting well conditioned when on the forage fish. Expect rainbows to 2 kg with an average size of 0.75 kg. Still excellent Chironomid and callibaetis mayfly hatches. Shrimp, dragon/lies and damselfies still prominent.

Best flies: Pheasant Tail mayfly nymphs, bead head Hares Ear, Adams, Chironomid pupae in a variety of colours, shrimp patterns, damselfly nymphs and lille-bulidae and darner dragonfly nymphs. Also shiner patterns.

Pinantan Lake

Similar stocks as Paul Lake, Light Pennask and Blackwater stockings with about 25% of fishery composed of wild fish. Good population of shiners. Overall, an abundant population of trout with max. size of 1 kg and average of 0.5 kg.

Shiner patterns effective as well as more attractor style patterns, leeches, Woolly Buggers, some Chironomids and dragon/lies but invertebrate populations not as prolific as Paul Lake.

Hyas Lake

Currently a good fishery with annual stockings of Pennask strain of rainbow trout. Pure culture and abundant populations of shrimp and Chironomids. Still has traveler caddis hatch. Fish to 2.5 kg with average of 0.75 kg.

Closed to fishing in the winter months. Best fly patterns, bloodworms, Chironomid pupae of various colours, Hyalella shrimp, caddis larval and pupal patterns, leeches, damselfly nymphs, and water boatman in the fall.

This pure culture lake continues to support a quality fishery. It is stocked with Pennask rainbow trout on an annual basis. Water quality remains good and invertebrate life is abundant. Shrimp, Chironomid, caddis and leeches are the trouts' staple food items. Traveler sedge hatch still present. Fish to 2 kg. with an average of 0.75 kg.

Knouff Lake

Stocked on an annual basis with all female rainbow trout stocks. Limited natural recruitment. Caddis hatches still occurring and definite following of anglers who enjoy this famous hatch. Good Chironomid and callibaetis emergences. Water quality still good, clear water, white marl shoals. Fish to 3 kg. Regulations: 2 fish/day and single hook restriction. Very popular fishery particularly with fly anglers.

Patterns to consider: mayfly nymphs, Adams, Chironomid pupae, particular small green patterns, caddis pupa, Mikaluk sedges, damselfly nymphs, Hyalella shrimp and dragonfly nymphs.

LacLeJeune

Still an excellent fishery although fish are quite spooky when on the shoals. Water quality still good. Callibaetis and Chironomid hatches still prominent as well as good caddis hatches. Also, small damselfly emergences. Good populations of Hyalella shrimp.

Very popular fishery with large provincial park and many permanent homes on both south and north shores of lake, Lac Lejeune resort still operating. Fish to 1.75 kg with average of 0.75 kg.

Best patterns, callibaetis mayfly nymph imitations ( Skip Nymphs, bead-head Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tail), dun imitations (parachute Adams, Chopaka May), Chironomid pupae of various colours, and shrimp patterns.

Peterhope Lake

Still an excellent fishery, stocked with Pennask yearlings each spring. Limited natural recruitment. Quality regulations: 2 fish limit, single barbless hook, bait ban and winter closure. Forest Service recreation site plus newly redeveloped lodge. Fish to 4 kg. with average of 0.75 kg. Recent conversion of irrigation licenses to conservation will maintain stable water levels in the lake ensuring shoal areas remain productive and habitable by fish. Excellent Chironomid, some mayfly and caddis emergences. Fish often feeding on Hyalella shrimp and small Chironomid pupae. Nocturnal fishing with leeches and dragonflies can be productive."

~ Art Lingren

Credits: From Famous British Columbia Fly-Fishing Waters, published by Frank Amato Publications. We appreciate use permission.

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