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Fishing fly patterns catch fish and people

By Don Daniels
John Westergard frames a fly collection for a Vancouver family. Don Daniels photo

By Don Daniels

In the grand scheme of fishing in western Canada, fly-fishing has always been a British Columbia thing because of the many lakes and rivers that abound on the mainland and here on Vancouver Island.

Salmon and trout are catchable on the fly throughout the province and people who live in Alberta or Saskatchewan are making their way to B.C. with fly rod in hand. In the month of August, I have met people from Quebec who have arrived on the Island to fly fish on the Campbell River and try their hand at a fishing charter on Discovery Passage for a half or full day. Local tackle shops carry a full selection of fly patterns that will work this time of year for pinks, coho and chinook along with the patterns that work in local lakes for trout. Prior to COVID, I had one of the fly-tying companies who operate in Vancouver speak at the library and they introduced the group to tube flies that have become very popular in the past five years. The fishers are buying them up and they are available in our local tackle shops here on the Island.

If you want to fly-fish here on the Island, you have a few options to choose when you want a fly pattern: you make it yourself, buy from the tackle shops or you find a pattern and buy online. There are a number of fly-fishing groups that get together on a regular basis and they tie up flies and they swap them with other people to get out fishing.

During the winter sessions of fly-tying for beginners, those who attend go home with patterns they have developed. A number of beginners who have been in class over the years, are very confident in the patterns they tie up and they catch fish.

Campbell River tyers have been around for years and they are artists in what they do. Fly patterns are framed and are on display in local stores for sale to the public.

A number of families here on the Island have boxes of flies that were done by a parent or grandparent and they get them framed as a keepsake. The artwork can be displayed on the walls and it’s a reminder that fishing has long been in the family for years. The Museum at Campbell River has a number of pictures showing the history of fishing on the Campbell River.

For salmon anglers, you might want to head to Port Alberni for the Salmon Derby Sept. 3 to 5 with a chance to win cash and prizes.

Later in the month, the Haig-Brown Festival is here in Campbell River on Sunday, Sept. 25, from 11 to 3 p.m. on the grounds of Haig-Brown House.

There will be fishing demonstrations along with music and a food venue. This is a great time to talk fishing, try your hand at fly casting and talk fishing with the locals.

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