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Weekly Fraser Valley Sport Fishing Column for March 21 to 28, 2016
With the North American economy struggling with every falling market prices during the 1930’s, eastern anglers were rediscovering the sport in their local waters. Many eastern fish stocks were still struggling from a century of habitat destruction and over fishing, but the seeded bass stocks had thrived. In these places there was a resurgence of a following of James Henshall and the science he had devoted to bass fishing.

One of Henshall’s fans was Orley Tuttle. Henshall had broken from the popular bass flies of his, which were generally over dressed trout patterns, and experimented with making bugs and frogs out of deer hair. Tuttle improved on Henshall’s early patterns, and was selling over 50,000 of his Devil Bass Bugs a year at the onset of the great depression. At the same time another innovator, Ernest Peckinpagh developed the ever popular Poppin Bug. Peckinpagh got his ideas from watching the success swampers were having in the Arkansas swamps using bottle corks as lures. Peckinpagh experimented with attaching saddle hackles and other assorted feathers to painted bottle corks until he came up with the right combinations. He too sold large quantities of his flies right through the 1930’s.

There were, as there are today trout purists. To answer the call there were two authors, who had honed their skills in the Poconos and the Catskills; Preston Jennings and Edward Hewitt. Hewitt’s book, “Hewitt’s handbook of Fly fishing,” released in 1933, was a simple how to of the basics for fishing North American trout streams with a fly. Jennings’s book, “A Book of Trout Flies,” released in 1935, was a long awaited book on American stream entomology.

“…A slender rod, a silken line, an invisible leader of hairlike fineness, a counterfeit fly cunningly devised of fur and feathers and steel, a surface feeding trout, the cast, the strike, the net, and another trout goes the way of all flesh…”Preston Jennings, 1935.

The Report

Our lower mainland lakes have improved with the warmer weather. For better success, focus on the warmer water in the shallows, in and around the north east sections of your favorite lake, from mid morning through mid afternoon. For wet (sinking) fly fishing try: Chironomid, Bloodworm, Wooly Bugger, Doc Spratley, Halfback, Micro Leach, Pumpkinhead, or Baggy Shrimp.

The Fraser River along with its backwaters and sloughs are fishing fair to good for cutthroat, rainbow, dolly Varden, and steelhead. For cutthroat try: Rolled Muddler, Flesh Fly, Eggo, Professor, Silver Doctor, Borden Special, Zulu, or small black Stone Nymph. For dolly varden try: large Clouser’s Deep Minnow. Zonker, Eggo, Flesh Fly, Dolly Whacker, or Kauffman Stone. For rainbow try: Czech nymph, Cased Caddis, Coachman, Rolled Muddler, Mico Leach, or Zulu. For steelhead try: Big Black, Flat Black, Squamish Poacher, Polar Shrimp, Popsicle, GP, Steelhead Nightmare, or Kauffman Stone.

The Harrison River is fair to good for cutthroat and rainbow.

The Vedder River is good for rainbow and steelhead.
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