Clinton Nelson with a keeper trout caught end of April. Picture supplied

Maintaining social distancing for fishing activity until further notice


By Don Daniels

Whether your outdoor recreation is fishing for salmon or trout, hiking, boating or wildlife watching, we are all in the same boat.

COVID-19 is with us and we must continue to keep our distance from other people. This year I held fly-tying sessions for beginners at the Campbell River and Sayward libraries and the last session in Campbell River had to be canceled. Doing free public sessions gives me a chance to use up my stash of feathers and fur along with other materials.

Usually, at the end of March, I pack away my flytying gear and go fishing. Because of people staying at home, I made a decision to keep the tying gear out and continue to tie up flies because I enjoy it and I have extra time on my hands. George Herter wrote a number of books on flytying and tackle making between 1941 and 1966. The entomology section got my attention; now I’m hooked on bugs and it’s back to the vise.

I am hoping that the students who came out to learn flytying will continue to develop their patterns and get out fishing.

The only change I made this year was to get my fishing license online because the local tackle shops were closed. Fishing is now an essential service and the tackle shops are open to the public and yes, everyone keeps their distance and they go about their business.

With the weather getting warmer, more people are getting out to walk the trails for a few hours, getting exercise or go fishing to some of the local rivers. A popular area is the Oyster River Nature Park. Rules include no camping or fires and dogs must be on leash. All users must pack out anything that is taken in and that includes empty pop and beer cans.

Since the Oyster River is catch-and-release for trout, the area below the bridge is a gathering spot for anglers and non-fishers. The old pub parking lot is blocked off and there is no access for people to get to the river, no-trespassing signs are posted. There is limited parking adjacent to the blocked-off area, but you can get to the river from the road and use the path to get to the river. A COVID-19 notice is posted and people are advised to stay six feet away from other park users. Years ago, we used to fly fish the Oyster and head over to the Fisherman’s Pub afterwards but those days are gone

Local trout lakes are picking up for trout action. It was mid-April that water temperature was at four degrees and now it’s at 14. Local anglers are getting out and using worms fished from shore. Water is clear.

Nymph pattern flies, such as a pheasant tail, seem to be working best. But wait a few weeks, the ants will be here and the trout will gobble up the tasty bugs, then the bite will stop.

Chironomids can be fished from a float tube or canoe in water between eight and 15 feet deep. Alberta anglers who now live here are using the chironomid pattern and they mention that back in the Alberta lakes it’s tough to get the fly through the algae in the hot summer months. This pattern looks like a black-bodied hook with a ribbing and a larger head and is twitched off the bottom.

You can fish any lake or river during this virus pandemic, but stay six feet from your buddy and avoid any gatherings outside of family members. The RCMP can enforce social distancing on boats and other areas where the public can gather.

I always welcome reader feedback in the form of a picture or comment and the main thing is to keep it a safe fishing environment for everyone. I can be reached by email or text 250-895-1691.


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