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Learning old school fishing in today’s world

By Don Daniels
Old-school Carey Special fly is a go-to pattern locally. Photo by Don Daniels

By Don Daniels

We are inches away from the start of the fishing season around Campbell River and as time moves on, there will be some changes to how we fish for salmon or trout in a number of lakes around Campbell River, the west coast or even up to Port Hardy.

Already, boats are coming out of storage and local boat suppliers and mechanics will be ordering stock and if time repeats itself, most will leave any repairs to the last minute delaying the fishing. For the salmon hunters who target Chinook, the retention regulations have been announced by DFO. A couple of things this summer we will notice, there will be more tourists coming this summer to boat fish and enjoy whale watching and boating. With the price of gas as it stands, people will budget their trips and possibly spread things around. Some fishing charter operators around Vancouver Island will add a surcharge to a fishing trip while others will package up lodging, meals and fishing.

Years ago, I met Ralph Shaw at Comox Lake and I had a chance to sit down and talk old school fly-tying. He was a master of working with deer hair and at various events, he tied flies and gave them away. I asked him what materials he worked with and he looked at me and said deer hair, fat and straw. Today there is an abundance of fly-tying materials and it can get expensive.

Locally, an angler wanted to know about the Carey Special fly and wanted to know if I fished it. I do; I first used it in Kamloops and, to date, have fished it in all local rivers. Get a barbless size 10 to 12 hook, use pheasant tail and rump feathers. For the body, use pheasant tail material around the shank and use black thread and keep it simple. Body color can be green or yellow and the tail and wing will be long pheasant rump feathers. Joe Kerwin got his mom to send me feathers from eastern Canada and they will become a fly pattern to send back east and I will fish it in weeks to come.

My regular fly-tying students will have one more session coming up Friday, April 29, from 1 to 3 p.m. I have grandpas, kids and ladies who have taken up this hobby of fly-tying and they do get out fishing local lakes and rivers. There are some signs of nature that say fishing is coming soon. In damp areas and creeks, skunk cabbage is blooming, herons are looking for trout in the shallows, but the ant hatch is about a month away.

Contract fishing guides will be heading to their fishing grounds within two weeks and lodges will be in the process of getting their crews together for the start of the prime season coming up in May and June.