My fishing career has taken many turns, almost all for the better, starting with cutty-hunk line and worm as a very small boy fishing the Little Campbell Creek which ran through our farm in South Langley. I managed to purchase my first fly rod at 11 years old and with cheap Army and Navy flies, I did rather well in Fraser Valley streams. As an adult, there was a natural progression to ocean fishing for salmon with large spring salmon on top of the list although bucktailing for Coho was extremely exciting! My quest for big springs covered such waters as the West Coast off Bamfield, the Gordon Islands north of Port Hardy and all around Dundas Island near the south tip of the Alaskan Panhandle, not to mention big spring hook-ups in rivers such as the Skeena! In time I found that salmon could be caught on flies of my own making, mostly river fishing, and to better hold salmon, single handed fly rods gave way to much longer two handed Spey rods! I am proud to say that I have caught all five salmon species fly fishing but admit that for every salmon landed on the fly, two or more are lost! But what has this salmon dialogue got to do with this month's article which will be a trout chironomid?
I mention the above in part because as well as catching fish, I have always enjoyed eating fresh caught fish, especially ocean salmon, but even large fish hooked with heavy gear is truly not as enjoyable as fly casting with light equipment. Therefore, my trout fishing has also changed in several ways, to releasing rather than keeping almost all fish caught, to pursuing larger rather than more numerous smaller trout and to seek what I feel are better table fish, namely brook trout rather than rainbow or cutthroat trout! Yes, the last few years I have been seeking out good brook trout habitats. The reason is that I find the one brook trout I keep for eating is better than most rainbows that I catch in Okanagan and Cariboo waters, although I will add that kokanee are a close second for table fare! Now brookies are not always ready to jump into your frying pan so some special techniques are needed to find a good brook trout or two. These fish do like underwater obstructions such as dead trees which are very adept at catching your fly or lure! My friend Al Kouritzin has spent the winter researching brook trout flies and recommends the "Producer" which we will examine next. However, it is not just a good fly, in this case a chironomid, but how and where to fish it. A nearby lake we like has been formed as part of the East Kelowna Irrigation district where the original lake has been raised for water storage with trees left uncut in flooded areas. Brook trout love these spots but fishermen trolling flies or gear risk losing everything if they venture near these drowned tree areas. Our plan, anchor and fly cast chironomids near the dead trees where we know many large brookies are hanging out! And one of the flies to use is described as follows!
The white glo yarn for the gills is threaded inside the bead and the easiest way to do this is to pull the yarn through the bead before sliding the bead to the hook eye. Do not worry about the length of yarn sticking past the bead as it can be trimmed to size later. You will need to pinch the hook barb of course in order to slide both the bead and threaded glo yarn from the hook point to hook eye. After tightly tying down the piece of yarn facing the hook bend to the hook shank, thus securing the bead in place at the hook eye, you can trim the yarn projecting past the bead at the hook eye fairly short. Next, attach a thin red wire to the hook shank and let it project 3 or 4 inches past the hook bend. Now wind red acetate floss starting part way down the hook bend tightly and thinly towards the bead. Starting about 1/3 of the way past the bend, wind black acetate floss to the bead, increasing the thickness as you proceed. A key here is to use ultra thin monofilament as your tying thread as it will be almost invisible. The difference in constructing this chironomid is the next step. Moisten all the floss with acetone using a Q-tip and then stroke the wet floss from bead to bend to kind of blend the black and red floss together. The final step is to create a rib by winding the red wire forward to the bead and tying off. Finish the fly with a coat of clear cement and you have created a good brook trout chironomid, at least according to my friend Al!
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