Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Blog Migration - VFG BLOG MOVED

To those who are reading this blog. I have just migrated all of my old blog postings from my old server to this new version. This is why you will find so many postings for Jan. 31 2007! Not to worry, they should continue in chronological order from now on.

Tight Lines,


Giant Water Bug Found - April 2006

Giant Water Bug

While checking the Meighan Creek fish trap yesterday as part of my volunteer work with the Squamish Streamkeepers, I found a Giant Beetle! Well actually, once I got to my computer this morning and researched what it was, I found out that it was actually Lethocerus americanus, more commonly known as the "Giant Water Bug" or "toe biter".

As I read through the articles listed below I found out that these things really do bite, hence the knickname "toe biter"! Good thing I had on my trusty Simms Waders with built in Giant Water Bug Protection! I managed to handle the critter with just the dip net since my instincts told me not to pick the thing up. My Recording Officer, Allie, the newest Squamish Streamkeeper at age 5 agreed it would be a bad idea to handle it.

The trap is functioning well since we counted 46 coho salmon smolts, 1 stickleback minnow, and of course, the Giant Water Bug. The coho smolts were freed for their journey to the sea as were the other two species we found.

coho smolt
stickleback minnow

Fish Trap Opening
Entrance to the Trap
fish trap funnel
Funnel to Holding Box
holding box
Trap Holding Box

Denis' First Char - Feb 2006 Re-Post

February 19th, 2006 gets the check mark for the beginning of great char action this season and Denis Landreville from Tremblant Fly Fishing had a chance to experience it first-hand!

The day started off slow as to be expected because of the low temperatures, but as the day heated up so did the fly fishing!

11:00 am or thereabouts was the first take on my large sculpin pattern. Unfortunately, we did not get to see that fish - LDR, but the very next cast yielded another take and this one didn't get away. I had found a school.

I hollered upriver to Denis to have him come down to where I had been casting but he declined, so I cast again. Wham&another fish, but alas another LDR. Hollering once more was effective and when he arrived to my location, I stepped off my rock and explained where the char were holding. I also explained that a take from these fish can be subtle and soft, sometimes feeling much like you've hooked a small twig on the swing.

He began to cast as I poured some coffee. I watched in great anticipation as I sipped down the hot beverage. 15 more minutes yielded nothing. A bit disheartened I decided it was time for lunch and a change of scenery! We headed back to the truck and traveled to our afternoon location further down the river.
We inhaled our sandwiches, re-strung our fly rods and headed out to the riverbank. I pointed out some features where I felt the fish would be holding, usually a small depression in the river bottom or beside some large woody debris. After making the plan of attack, we headed up river to begin fishing the run.

Well we found them at about 2:45pm; lots of them! I cast 3 times and 3 times I hooked and landed a char. Nice ones too, all 16" or greater! This time my hollering to Denis was more effective. This time he arrived before I could cast again.

I watched as he cast to where I said they were holding.... wham! He was in. "Interesting; so that's what they feel like!" he remarked. Then it was on! He was into another one again and again and again. For the last 2 hours of the day it seemed to be almost every cast found a hungry char.

It was too much fun for both of us. We left the river, knowing another cast might yield another fish but we both felt we had had our fun and that we should head home having caught plenty in one day.

Click Here for some videos of the day:

Suggested Fly Lines for Dolly Varden and Bull Trout - Get Down!

Buy this ProductScientific Anglers Mastery Series Freshwater Sinking Tips Wet Tip Fly Line Our guides suggest a Type III or IV.

Chum Salmon 2006

Well the run began with the first chum hooked on Oct. 2, 2006 on a classic purple egg sucking wooly bugger. I was unable to slow the fish down as it raced back into the main current and straight towards a seal. Alas he was gone but only after about 4-5 leaps and flips! What a great first hook up!
The next day out was Oct. 6 after a really high tide due to a full moon. Even with the lack of rain, I think the combination of a full moon and high tide really heated things up. Andy from the UK was the first client to really hook into a slew of 2006 fish...his first one on his 3rd or 4th cast of the day!

"I wasn't prepared for that!" he exclaimed as the fish raced across the current and took off for the sea promptly ending the struggle. It was on! The rest of the day proved to be excellent with 5 landed out of the 12 or so hooked. Not a bad beginning to the season! Flies use included popsicles, purple egg sucking wooly buggers, and a few on some of my own creations.

Oct. 7......the best yet! Waves of chrome fish moving past yielded many hook-ups and a dozen or so landed. The river was still quite low and with relatively good clarity at 2ft of vis. The main fly of the day...popsicles. Active fish were holding in shallow water at about walking speed or slightly faster.

Hints: Purple flies, Type IV wet tip lines and short 3-4ft leaders get the flies down to the fish!

Suggested Fly Lines for Salmon / Steelhead - Get Down!

Buy this ProductScientific Anglers Mastery Series Freshwater Sinking Tips Wet Tip Fly Line Our guides suggest a Type III or IV.

Trout Fly Fishing Equipment for the Whistler & Squamish Area

I am often asked what to bring to fish for trout in the Squamish and Whistler area. Well here it is:
Fly Lines:
1. Sink tip line Type III or IV (Required for targeting char in rivers)
2. Floating Line (rivers and lakes) 3. Intermediate sink Type II or III for stillwaters

Rods: 9 or 9.5 ft - 4wt for rainbows, 5 or 6wt for rainbows/cutthroat/char (Dolly Varden/Bull Trout)

Reels: Large arbor is essential to pick up line when fishing the lakes. The rainbows have a tendency to turn and run very quickly at the angler.

Flies: A selection of the following:

Dry Flies
*Elk Hair Caddis - Brown/Black (#10-#16)
*Tom Thumb (#10-#16)
Stimulators (#6-#10) Goddard Caddis (#10)

Nymphs (beaded and unbeaded):
*Pheasant Tail - Browns #14-#10
*Hare's Ear - Natural
Kauffman stonefly - brown, black #6-#10
Caddis Pupa - #14
Dragon Nymphs - Browns/Blacks
Damsel Nymphs (olive #8,#10)

Doc Spratley
*Wooly Buggers - size 8 (*Brown, Black, Olive)
Egg Sucking Leech
Muddler Minnows

Most prey species in the area are as follows:

Salmon fry / Small Trout (1.5-3"), Sculpins (1.5-4"), Caddis, Mayfly, Stonefly, leeches (mostly browns)

Hint - In Summer, fish the surface first in rivers with a dry, then follow through again with a wet fly to produce char!

*Make sure you have these!

Becoming an Angling Guide in BC

To become a Licenced Angling Guide in BC you must:
1. Write and Pass an exam to prove your knowledge of the regulations in the region(s) you plan to guide
2. Write an Angling Guide Operating Plan (AGOP) 3. Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada (landed immigrant) and is 19 years of age or older (or has attached an exemption under Section 100 of the Wildlife Act). The applicant further certifies that he or she holds and will maintain a minimum of $500,000 public liability insurance applicable to his or her angling guide business and effective for the period during which s/he operates.

Finish All of the above and you have earned your LICENCED ANGLING GUIDE status from the BC Government

This allows you to: Guide on the rivers/lakes you have listed in your AGOP, and hire Assistant Guides*

Assistant Guides often refer to themselves as Guides in BC. They are "Assistant Guides" and are hired by Licenced Angling Guides by simply dubbing them an Assistant Guide and paying a fee. They need absolutely no training whatsoever nor do they write a test for knowledge of regulations.

In addition, Effective April 2007, Transport Canada requires that to run a commercial vessel, in this case, a Jet Sled or Jet Boat, or any motorized vessel on fresh or salt water you will require a C-Licence for your vessel.

To pilot the vessel you will require additional Training including:

1. MED-A3 - Marine Emergency Duties
2. SVOP - Small Vessel Operator Proficiency Licence by April 2007.

Read More Here

Neither Provincial nor the Federal Government requires that your guide:

A) Hold a valid First Aid Certificate of any sort - not even a basic first aid course
B) Hold a valid Swiftwater Rescue Certificate
C) Hold a valid CPR certificate
D) Hold a Class 4 Driver's licence (Commercial drivers such as taxi drivers and limo drivers require this - how does a guide transporting fishermen differ?)
E) Have any whitewater / swiftwater training to run the vessel in class III and Class IV rapids

Training is entirely up to you as an individual guide. A great outline for this is available here:

5th FFC National Fly Fishing Championship

If you have ever wanted to compete or test your skills among other fine fly fishers, read on:


Ottawa, Ontario, 6 November 2006 -- Fly Fishing Canada (FFC) is pleased to announce that the 5th FFC National Fly Fishing Championships and Conservation Symposium (Nationals) will be held on 17-22 September 2007 at Grande Prairie, Alberta. Partners working with FFC on this event are The Peace Country Flyfishers Association and the Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association.

The schedule of events is anticipated to be as follows:
Monday, 17 Sept. and Tuesday, 18 Sept. 2007 - Practice days.
Wednesday, 19 Sept. - Registration Day (No fishing).
Thursday, 20 Sept. – Fishing Sessions 1 and 2
Friday, 21 Sept. – Fishing Sessions 3 and 4
Saturday, 22 Sept. – Fishing Session 5 and Conservation Symposium.
The actual fishing locations will be announced prior to the competition.

John Beaven, FFC National Competitions Chairman, said, "We have been very impressed with the enthusiasm and capabilities of both The Peace Country Flyfishers Association and the Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association, and are confident the event will be well supported by the community. We expect the Nationals will have superb fishing and attract competitors from across Canada".

Jim Epp, President of The Peace Country Flyfishers Association, said, "The Peace Country Flyfishers Association has been in existence since 1984. It has hosted many fishing competitions and is currently involved with local conservation projects. The Grande Prairie region has traditionally been a vibrant community, and is used to hosting world class events. This will be an excellent opportunity to showcase the Grande Prairie region, and promote fly fishing and conservation"

Competitors will fish in teams of five persons, which may consist of official teams representing their province, region, or a fishing club. Individuals arriving on their own may get together with other singles to form a five-person team, or they can wait to be assigned by the committee.
The events are strictly catch-and-immediate-release using only single, barbless hooks. A fish is led into a release cradle, where it is quickly measured and unhooked without removing it from the water.

The marking system is simple: Each valid catch counts for 100 points, and each centimetre of body length counts for 20 points. Thus, a 35 cm trout would be 35 x 20 + 100 = 800 points. At day’s end, administrators compile the tally sheets and credit them to the appropriate teams and individuals.

Members of the winning teams will receive gold, silver and bronze medals, and similar medals are presented to the top three individuals. In addition, the individual gold medalist is awarded the highly coveted Doug Austin Memorial Trophy, which honours the memory of an early and beloved member of FFC.

The top competitors at national events may become eligible to represent Canada at international fly fishing events, such as the World Fly Fishing Championships and Conservation Symposiums, the Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships, the Oceania Fly Fishing Championships, and the North American Fly Fishing Championships.

"An important objective of the nationals is the sharing of angling information
and techniques," said FFC President Randy Taylor.

"This raises the skill level and enjoyment of Canada’s fly fishers in a competitive but friendly environment. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with old angling friends, and make new ones from across the county while learning more about fly fishing and related conservation issues. Most of all, we want everyone involved to have fun."

The Conservation Symposium showcases local projects and initiatives, such as habitat reclamation, water preservation, and fish stock rehabilitation, and provides a forum in which ideas are shared with the attending competitors, volunteers, local conservation groups, sponsors, invited guests, and the news media.

Information concerning team and individual registration will be posted on the FFC website in the coming days.

Fly Fishing Canada is a not-for-profit organization aimed at using national and international fly fishing championships to promote issues concerning the sport, not only in Canada but worldwide. Although some anglers still balk at the concept of competitive fly fishing, these strictly catch-and-release events provide a focal point that brings fly fishers together from throughout Canada and the world, not only to exchange technical information about their sport, but also to address problems concerning conservation, water quality, habitat loss, and other environmental problems. Through these exchanges, many of the problems that plague freshwater fisheries in several countries may someday be beaten, or at least controlled in a meaningful manner. FFC has since been instrumental in introducing the mandatory inclusion of a Conservation Symposium at every international World Fly Fishing Championships, successful events that attract participation by noted scientists, biologists and conservationist from around the world.

For further information regarding the 5th NFFC contact:
Randy Taylor, FFC President:
John Beaven, FFC National Competitions Chairman:
Jim Epp, President, The Peace Country Flyfishers Association:


I have personally attended the 3rd Nationals in Campbell River, and the event was exceptional. I highly recommend the competition for many reasons, however, the most compelling is that you can find out if you really know what you are doing and the wealth of knowledge there is fantastic. Go as competitor but be a sponge!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dress for Winter Fly Fishing

Here is what we recommend on any Winter Fly Fishing Outting:

You must remember that on a winter fly fishing trips we are both walking and standing still for prolonged periods of time. We are also prone to getting a little wet, either because of rain or in the unlikely event falling in the drink!Therefore, dressing in layers is recommended. This will allow you to "peel off" layers when walking and put layers back on if stationary.

Do Not Wear Cotton! It absorbs water and will stay wet cooling your feet or body.

Do Wear Wool! Wool socks, Toque (hat), mitts, shirts, sweaters. Even when wool gets wet it will keep you warm!

Layer 1
Polypropylene Socks (wicks moisture away from your feet), Long underwear (Polypropylene), Polypropylene Long sleeve shirt - do not wear too tight of a sock because you will restrict blood flow and your feet will get cold!

Layer 2
Turtleneck Shirt, Pants (I wear Wool Pants), Wool Socks

Layer 3
Long Sleeve Shirt (wool recommended)

Outer Layers
Wool Sweater, Waterproof Jacket(Goretex to breathe)- The rain doesn't stop us West Coast Fly Fishers!, Touque (Wool Hat), Mitts (I keep these tucked in the top of my waders to warm my hands up when they get cold.)

Eye Protection
Polarized Sunglasses

Hope this helps those not familiar with Canadian Winters!

Don't let the weather stop you from a great day on the water!

Tight lines!