Weekly Fraser Valley Sport Fishing Column, June 1 to 8, 2015

After its start in the early 1830’s; dry Fly Fishing, by the end of the decade had become a popular method for taking (Atlantic) salmon, in the Canadian rivers of Quebec and Nova Scotia. The following account was published in the Turf Register in 1839.

“On Friday morning, I prepared a most captivating Grouse’s hackle, with a small black head… Waiting till the shadow of a large maple fell on the hole… stole quietly along the rock and sat down. After a little I dropped the new fly within a few inches of the water…

Up came my friend with open mouth… darted his muzzle out of the water, and took the fly in the air,”

From the early 1840’s, through the 1860’s, North American anglers were pursuing their own home grown entomology (the scientific study of insects). While George Washington Bethune, Thaddeus Norris, and Robert Barnwell Roosevelt, are the most noted entomologists of this time period; one not so well known was Elizabeth Benjamin.

The next passage is from a letter, Elizabeth’s son, Joseph, wrote in 1860, explaining how his mother came to developed her interest in Fly Tying and entomology.

“…one day mother noticed a man… name of Conley who kept the only tavern in the place would go fishing every afternoon about sun-down a short distance from our house, and always returned with a mess of trout…

…mother got so interested in Mr. Conley’s success she waded out in the creek unnoticed by Conley, and observe red that the largest trout would always jump for certain kinds of flys…. Believing she could imitate the kind of flys the trout were taking, she mentioned it to my father, and they worked nights making nest; and would wade out in the creek and catch the flys place them under glasses on a table until they would shed their coats.

In order to make the imitation flys to resemble the genuine ones, it was my job to procure certain kinds of feathers…

Many tourists coming to Ralston… when they learned of the success of others who had purchased my mothers… flys, they paid her fabulous prices for all she could make.”

The Report

Fishing on our lower mainland lakes is good. For wet (sinking) Fly Fishing try: Bloodworm, Chironomid, Wooly Bugger, Doc Spratley, Red Spratley, Halfback, Micro Leach, Six Pack, Souboo, Pumpkinhead, Damsel Nymph, American Coachman, or Baggy Shrimp. For dry (floating) Fly Fishing try: Lady McConnell, Big Ugly, Elk Hair Caddis, Griffith Gnat, Irresistible, or Royal Coachman. For kokanee try: Bloodworm, San Juan Worm, Red Spratley, Red Ibis, Double Trude, or small Red Zonker.

Our local bass and panfish waters are good. For bass try: Foam Frog, Poppers, Chernobyl Ant, Stimulator, Adult Damsel, Adult Dragon, Big Black, Wooly Bugger, Dragon Nymph, Pumpkinhead, Dolly Whacker, Lefty’s Deceiver, or Clouser’s Deep Minnow. For Panfish try Bloodworm, Chironomid, Micro Leach, Pumpkinhead, Popper, Black Gnat, Trico, Mosquito, or Royal Coachman.

Fishing on our interior lakes is good. For wet Fly Fishing try: Bloodworm, Chironomid, Big Black, 52 Buick, Dragon Nymph, Halfback, Butler’s Bug, Doc Spratley, Green or Red Spratley, Pumpkinhead, Green Carey, Damsel Nymph, Dragon Nymph, or Baggy Shrimp. For dry Fly Fishing try: Tom Thumb, Double Hackled Peacock, Elk hair Caddis, Goddard Caddis, Royal Wulff, or Irresistible.