British Columbia Fly Fishing
by Mike Hogue
I just got back from a vacation with my wife so I thought it might be fun to describe and tell you about a few places I went to and some of the differences in the fishing. I will also tell you about a few tips I picked up from my trip that might be really useful to other fly fishers.
My wife got a summer job teaching at University of British Columbia as a visting professor at Green College in Vancouver. Green College is an endowed college of UBC that was funded by Cecil Green, one of the primary founders of Texas Instruments of Dallas, TX. Laura was invited to come give a graduate class this past spring. We stayed at the college which had a small apartment for visiting professors and scholars. People from all over the world have been at this school offering classes, seminars and talks of all sorts of topics from sciences, humanities and engineering.
UBC is high on the beach on a point above a Pacific Bay sound. Ships travel from all over the world to this port. Consumer goods are off loaded in the bay and raw materials like logs, lumber, grain, coal and such are on loaded onto cargo ships. Being from the Midwest originally, I was fasicinated in how goods arrived and how many raw materials are shipped out. Logging is a big business here and many trees are cut and floated down the river into the bay as they have been doing since the area was settled in the 1800's. In the bay you see lots of logs waiting to be loaded into the ships.
Vancouver is largely a rain forrest type area like the Oregon and Washington coastal areas. I walked in and around several forrests and along the beach. The beaches are very rocky with steep bluffs. A large number of the beaches have large logs along them which are used to control erriosion and to protect the bluffs. The forrests in the area have some old growth timber which is quite large. A lot of the woods contain large amounts of cedar, pine, maple and birch. The area is quite beautiful with many types of flowers I had never seen before.
One of my favorite trips was a trip to Granville Island. This is a market area which has food from all over the world in an open market type that is enclosed under one roof. It is sort of like a giant grocery store placed in a mall. Each booth offers everything to eat that you can imagine. I had fresh baked goods, some Asian lunch, British Pastry and candy from Germany. The fruit was really nice with fresh fruit from Thailand and Asia.
Many of the shops were very unique. I saw an East Indian store which sold clothes and all sorts of stuff. I shopped for Native Crafts and I found some original native wood carvings of salmon in the Northwest Coastal style made by local artists. I also found a belt with Native salmon designs on it along with a few shirts and caps. Granville Island is unlike any place we have in the US and it is very unique. By far one of the most interesting store I saw was a store which sold Russian Communist goods.....very strange. T shirts with Lennin and such. The window had designer surgical masks on the models to wear to protect folks from SARS.
One thing I enjoyed visting was the Vancouver Sport Fishing Museum. They had displays of rods, reels and fly plates from many fly tyers all from all over the world. I saw flies from many East Coast tyers. By far the most interesting plate was from James Lessering that was originally from PA. He is the author of a wet fly book and is largely known for his soft hackles. That was a surprise to see his flies in such a long distance away. I also saw a plate of Jack Gartside flies with a picture of a young Jack. I did get a chance to see a fly box from Rodney Haig Brown, he lived across the bay from Vancouver on the Campbell River which is largely known for steelhead.
I had a chance to visit the Capilano fish hatchery which raises salmon and releases them into the river. Each year some 600,000 salmon are raised and released. I saw the whole process of how salmon are grown after they capture the adults. I also spent some time at the Vancouver Aquarium which has a large display of ocean based steelhead, coho and salmon. Really nice big, fat fish. I saw some really cool jelly fish, sea otters and beluga whales too. The staff had to wash the windows behind me from licking the glass while looking at the giantic fish.
I did some fishing too. While the weather was pretty good, we didn't have the greatest fishing. I fished the Veeder River and part of the Chilliwack which are tribs to the Fraser River. The Fraser itself is a giant river that is more or less like the Missippippi or the Sesquahanna. It is very wide, with a big valley. The Chilliwack has parts of it which are white water and very swift. The rocks are very large and the current is pretty fast. Part of the Chilliwack has white water kayaking and has a course on it used by the Olympic team to train. The Veeder was a bit easier to fish and we caught some steelhead on dry flies in a side channel. Over the river valley we got to see Osprey and Golden Eagles. Most folks wouldn't try a dry for steelhead but that was a very effective method. I cast large stimulators against the bank and it we caught a fair number of fish, although most were smallish.
We also fished Caltus Lake which was still pretty cold. 2 weeks before we got there they still had some snow. We got some freezing rain while we were camping and it snowed in the higher parts of the mountains. I saw some Dolly Vardon in mouth of a creek that was in the lake. I cast the kitchen sink but no luck. I fished a mountain lake which was very beautiful. We drove about 10 miles off the road on a logging road to Foley Lake. It was still very cold so the fishing was slow.
The coolest place we went to was Douglas Lake Ranch. This is an active cattle ranch on 500,000 acres about 60 miles from Kamloops. This area is known for the Kamloops rainbows which are large, hard fighting and very colorful. Douglas Lake Ranch is about 40 miles from the nearest town. You drive off the highway high into the mountains and travel for along time before you get to the beginning of the ranch. This ranch was most recently owned by Bernie Ebbers that was CEO of World Com that went down the tubes. The ranch is still operating. In the past folks like Brian Chan, Skip Morris have used some of this area for books and videos. The ranch has also been used in films, movies and videos since it doesn't have lights, buildings and such. It reminded us of parts of Yellowstone and Montana. Don't worry we didn't come in contact with any cattle to bring home Mad Cow.
The ranch has a campground, lodges and a small general store. There are several lakes to fish and while some are private, some are available to anyone camping. We fished Salmon Lake Resort and Little Sabin Lake which is private. Several of the lakes only allow a fixed number of people on them to reduce fishing pressure. For Little Sabin we drove about 15 miles from the camp and then drove on a cattle road about 3 miles to the lake. Very remote and it wasn't expensive at all. Camping was $15 and the lake fee was $60 Canadian which is about $45 US.
We used float tubes and tried a variety of things. Most of the flies used are leeches, scuds, midges and damsels or dragons. One of the things which was effective for some of the folks fly fishing was dead drifting chironomids or midges. Usually when we think of this, we are thinking tiny like 20 and below. I fished mostly 12-14. Pretty simple actually, just throw out the line and make tiny little strips in. I broke off 2 fish doing this. Laura cast out a black beady eyed leech, made small strips and caught about 6 fish with the biggest coming in at 19".
The Kamloops trout looked like a steelhead with a silver body and bright rainbow stripes. I of course tried the same technique and got skunked. One popular method to troll is to cast out about 90 feet of line and start kicking across the lake. This method didn't work for me , but it might be worth a shot the next time out. I am going to remember this when we head out to fish some mountain lakes this summer.
For more info on the Douglas Lake Ranch try:
For a great page of BC flies go to:
This also has some info on Vancouver. It is a very useful page and has flies by some of BC's best tyers. Even if you never go to BC this should give some ideas for any sort of lake fishing whether it is bass, bluegills or even crappie.
Bass Season Opens 6/15 in New York. I have some specials on some of the coolest bugs around.
Special Opening Day Pre Made Foam Popper Bodies. All $1.00 off per pack.
Spirit River's Hard Body Poppers: Dense molded poly type foam. These can be painted, covered w/ mylar tubes or just dressed with eyes. Panfish/Bass: Traditional styled cupped popper. Sizes: 2, 4 or 10, Price: $4.00, NOW $3.00
Salt Water/Chug Bug: Ideal for saltwater or skippers. Size 2/0 or 2, Price: $6.00, NOW $5.00
Pencil Popper: Size 1 or 4, Price: WAS $5.00, NOW $4.00
Spirit River's Pre-Made Frog Poppers: Made of a dense foam, air brushed with a scale and 2 tone colors. Just push on to a hook, wrap thread, coat thread w/ Zap-a-gap and pull on. Colors: Tan N Green Frog, Chartreuse Frog, Fire Tiger Frog. Size 6 or Size 10, Price: $5.00. NOW $3.00
Spirit River's Ultra Popper Bodies: These pre-made and pre-cut foam heads. Colors: Black, Yellow or Chartreuse. Size 6 or Size 10, Price: $3.00/ pack, NOW $2.00
Original Real Oak Turkey Quill: This is the GOOD stuff. Original type of mottled quill that all of us are USED to seeing but have been gone for along time. For many years tyers used oak quills which actually came from white turkey, these are marbled and beautiful. I haven't had any like this for years! Natural Premium Oak: $5. Dyed and Treated with a plastic additive to prevent splitting, Dyed Yellow or Olive: $6.00
Bugskin: I have had numerous requests for this stuff and I have contacted the supplier for this material. This is a texturized leather that can be used for nymphs, leeches, baitfish and crawdads. Very shortly I will add some patterns tyed by Chuck Ferminsky. Colors: Caddis Green, Black, Mottled Brown, Crackled Holoskin ( silver holographic) , Bright Gold, Black w/ Silver, Tan, Brown. $5.00 a patch.
I also have some Mikeskin which is split goat. Claret and Black $2.50. ( Note: this is a bit different than above, in that the back of Bugskin is smooth, Mikeskin is suede type on both sides.)
White Goose CDC: Selected from Snow Geese. Very nice long white CDC. $1.75
One Pair Only: Farm Raised Mute Swan Wings. Legal and okay to have. One pair of real swan wings. Contains a boat load of secondaries which are used for marrying. White only. $40
Great Gifts for Father's Day:
Sick of giving that same old tie to Dad? These are unique and one of a kind things that are idea gifts.
Just In! 1946 "Fortune" Fly Prints
I located an exclusive source for these pictures. Each picture is an artist quality lithograph of prints from 1946. Originally published in a1946 issue of Fortune magazine, the original pictures were made by USA artist, John Atherton. These fly plates depict flies made from the 1940's by many of America and North America's leading fly tyers. This is a unique, one of a kind gift which would be a welcome addition to an office, tying room, den or even the living room.
Each print is double matted in cream with a dark brown accent mat to bring out the best in each picture. Frames are wood with a rosewood color, a darkened edge and inside gold gilt edge. Simply, beautiful and very unique.
Fly plates include: May Fly and Dry Fly Plate, Wet Flies and Western Flies, Feather Wing and Hair Wing Salmon Flies, Low Water Salmon and Special Salmon Flies. For a limited time I can offer each of these plates as a single plate, set of 2 or as a complete set of 4. Single Print: Choose from Mayfly , Wet Fly, Low Water Salmon, Or Salmon: $80 each Set of 2 Prints: Your choice of 2 ( I would suggest, Dry / Wet Fly or Salmon / Low Water Salmon ) $150/ pair
Complete Set of 4 Prints: You get the entire collection of 4 prints for $240
Badger Creek's Fly Tyer's Wood Tool Chest: If you are looking for a one of a kind gift , this is it! Your fly tyer will love this special heirloom quality chest. This is a solid wood chest which will hold tools, hooks, materials and all of your tying goodies. Made of solid ash with a hand oilded finish, this chest is attractive enough to sit on any bench and is also built like a fine piece of furniture. Has 3 adjustable drawers lined with burgundy felt. Comes with durable outside handles and metal corners and latching hardware. Measures: 10.5"H by 18"L by 9"W. Top space is 2" deep to hold vise with ped base. Very nice! Price: $120, compare these to other wooden chests at over $800! This is a great price.
Note: Overall weight for shipping is 14 lbs. ( Please contact me about shipping rates.)
Just Added: I added Marryat Reels and these are wonderful Swiss quality made reels at a great price.
The Marryat Large Arbor Reels: Legendary Marryat fit and finish in an all new, very lightweight large arbor design with delicate and powerful linear drag, double housing and dual ring frame. The all new Large Arbor Reel from Marryat gives you the benefits of a large arbor design while keeping the light weight and easy handling associated with classic style reels. Fast line wind-up and smooth drag-start inherent to large arbor designs are only part of the story.
The Marryat Roller Clutch System Brake has been proven by over 2 decades of use to be one one of the smoothest, most adjustable and durable designs. The Large Arbor design, gives you incredibly fine linear adjustments and minimum start-up resistance to allow you to fish fine tippets with confidence and still have big-fish stopping power.
Perfected design, incredibly smooth and rugged with a proven drag mechanism make the Marryat Large Arbor Reel the top of it's class.
Reel Size Dia Width Capacity Weight
M1 3/4 2.80 1.0 WF3/ 50 YDS 4.2 oz
M2 5/6 3.11 1.0 WF6/100 YDS 4.5oz
M3 8/9 3.39 1.10 WF8/150 YDS 4.7oz
Colors: Gumetal Black or Gold
Email me for Prices:
Great Stuff for Fishing:
Ledhedz: Clip these lightweight LED water proof lights onto your cap or visor for an instant headlamp: Black only. Very handy and useful. $15.00
Rivalley Mesh fly Patch: Attches to vest and has a magnetic wall to hold flies. Stainless steel mesh allow air to pass and keeps flies in. Very cool and doesn't lose flies like a foam patch will. $24.00
Mike's Round Box: Round six compartment box which stacks. Ideal for beads, eyes and hooks, small midges. $3.50
Mike's Flex-Top Boxes: These are perhaps one of the handiest things I have had. Each box is roughly 1" by 1" and about 1/2" thick. Tops snap shut to hold all sorts of materials. Ideal for beads, hooks and tiny flies. $2.50 for a dozen.
Mike's Flex-Top Streamer Boxes: Same as above but in larger streamer size. Sizes is 2 3/8" by 1 1/2" by 1/2" thick. Use for streamer hooks up to about 3/0 or so. $2.50 for a HALF dozen.
Mike's Green Folding Box: Similar to the Gray Meiho folding boxes but in green. Folds with adjustable compartment and neck string. Holds streamers, nymphs or dries. $12.50.
Kidney Ergo Box: New 5 compartment box shaped like a kidney. Designed to slide in and out of pockets easily. A big hit at shows! $8.00
Waterproof Double Meiho w/ 13 Compartments: This is the grandpappy of all. It has 13 doors with smoke colored plastic for the case. Latches tight to a waterproof seal. Extremely cool! 4/1/4" x 3 3/4"x 1 3/8'. $15.50
Books: New stuff which are pretty good. Don't miss Trout Country Flies I love it!
Mayflies Top to Bottom: Expert Tying and Innovation by Shane Stalcup Shane's book is perhaps one of the most interesting and innovative out. Shane takes a look at redesigning trout flies using mostly synthetic materials. The goal is to create new patterns which match different stages of mayflies, making something that is realistic, easy to tie and something that fishes well. The pictures, patterns, descriptions and the layout are all top notch. Highly recommended. $29.95
Fly Patterns for Stillwaters by Phillip Rowley Phil spendt hours studying trout food sources in stillwaters. In this book he explains the link between understanding various trout foods and designing patterns which imiatate them. Useful for any lake fly fisher. $29.95 PB
Fran Verdoliva's Guide to Flies & Fishing New York's Salmon River. If you fish the Salmon River, you must have this book. Contains info on all the great Estaz flies and how to make them. Great info for steelheaders and salmon fishermen alike. $9.00
Patent Patterns by Jim Schollmeyer: Flies from the Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Journal column are grouped together for the first time. This highly successful contest published in each issue has patterns from all over the world. $29.95 PB
Tying Flies with CDC by Leon Links Largely a collection of European tyers' flies. The book highlights the material, development stages and history. Links selects different tyers and writes about each fly. An insight into how the tyer developed the patterns is given along with a history of the fly and how some of the flies are fished. If you are interested in CDC this is one of the few books out on this topic. $24.95
Trout Country Flies by Bruce Staples Fly patterns which originated in the golden triangle of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana are some of the most famous patterns we use. This book includes info on history, origins and pictures of the original flies along with how the fly was tied. This is an excellent book. Highly recommended! $29.95
Fishing Report: I got some info from a few places. Catskills are hot now. Sulphers are just starting. Hendricksons mostly over with. A few Green Drakes. East Branch and West Branch of Delaware are both wadable and running at a nice clip. Neversink is a good bet, Esopus is dirty and fast. Beverkill and Willoweemoc are in great shape. Hit the strech by the Museum for a change and cast from the shore near the pond out toward the road.
Local streams are good. Try fishing Cortland streams or head to Richford and try the Owego streams. Bass fishing starts 6/15. I would try crawdads, Clouser minnows and streamers. Some big smallies may still be hanging around trib streams of Cayuga Lake. I would try Fall Creek and Salmon Creek in the lower streches along Myer's Park.
As usual if you want to be deleted from this list for any reason, let me know. Hope you enjoyed this! Contact: Mike Hogue, Badger Creek Fly Tying, 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068. 607-347-4946. Email: Mike@eflytyer.com, Web Site: www.eflytyer.com
See you soon! Mike
For more Info Contact:
Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068