Even though we in Central British Columbia experienced a hard winter with much more snow than average, salmon fry begin stirring in the gravel stream beds of Skotch Creek, the Adams River and others long before the snow has completely disappeared! The sockeye fingerlings spend a year foraging in Shuswap Lake before some mysterious force tells them to migrate all the way to the ocean where they will rapidly grow for the next three years before returning to spawn in their birth river! The fingerling migration out of the big lake is not to be missed because large carnivorous wild rainbows, some of 10 pounds or more, actively feed on the salmon fry! This brief period can be a fly fisherman's delight if you enjoy heavy rainbow trout that try to rip your fishing rod right out of your hand! A key is of course is being there at the right time and then offering a good fly imitation to induce those violent strikes! I call the fly that we will examine this month the Shuswap Blue and it is definitely worth having if you find yourself chasing salmon fry on Shuswap Lake in early spring!
First tie in a short tail of yellow or gold wood duck feather. Then push a piece of silver mylar tubing over the hook eye to about the start of the hook bend. It is a good idea to measure and cut a the mylar first, then synch it down at both ends with your tying thread. Next select a blue rabbit strip with the skin no wider than 1/8 inch and cut it hook eye to almost past the tail end. Allow the top fur of the rabbit to sweep past the feather tail, almost as if you created a second tail. I prefer to finish the fly with a red floss head with just a bit of floss showing as a beard hackle. Cement, tie off and you have created a fly for those huge Shuswap rainbows!
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