All About Fly Fishing!

I Need A Notebook

I think I should pick up a small pocket hardbound or leather covered notebook to take along with me on my fishing field trips.  I think it would serve two purposes:

1. It would be helpful to remember particular conditions or anything worth noting for takes, catches, flies used, retrieval speeds if any, etc etc etc.  There are so many things I suppose one could write, but those observations that seem the most obvious or perhaps even different – that over time, the data could be correlated, even if just in my mind, to increase my own knowledge of fish activity, etc.

2.  It would make it so much easier to remember, like on nights like tonight, the fish caught, and by whom.

As mentioned in my previous post, I had promised Colin an evening of fly fishing.  We drove to part of the Grand River that is only 30 minutes from the house here, and again, I was surprised by the lack of anglers on the river.  When we arrived, there was only one other person and he left not long after we arrived, and then when he left, one other angler arrived to fish the section we were fishing.  That was nice.

I didn’t bother to take any long looks at what was going on, on the river so I simply tied on a Caddis Pupae pattern that was tied up by Arron Vargas for me on Colin’s line, and then a size 16 Elk Hair caddis pattern  for myself.  I pointed out some nice trouty riffles and pools that Colin could try, and walked a bit downstream where I saw a few fish rising off and on.

Well, on my second cast I had a real nice 14 incher that I brought to hand.  Looked like it was going to be a good night!  I kept working the pool for a while, but noticed Colin was having some issues with his casting.  It’s been a month or so since he had been out with me, and he just didn’t seem to be able to “find the groove.”   I tried to help him correct his casting, but I guess sometimes when Dad says things to sons, it doesn’t quite come out the same way as if it were someone else – and I think Colin was getting quite frustrated.  And the next thing was only about to add to his frustration:

I ended up catching another brown trout on the elk hair caddis, while Colin had a bunch of tangled up line.  So, I thought it would be good to wave him over to where I was, hand him my rod where the fish were rising and hitting the fly I was using, while I untangled his line for him.  So far so good… except the fish seemed to stop rising to the elk hair caddis.  Instead, after I got Colin’s set up all worked out, I had a few drifts with the pupae pattern… and bang… a nice fish.  Colin was NOT impressed. I, of course, couldn’t help but see the humour in it, and broke out laughing.  I got the “evil eye” stare in return though.

And to be honest, I felt bad – I’d caught three browns thus far, and Colin had nothing but tangles.  But at least we knew that the fish were willing to hit the pupae pattern – so I gave Colin’s rod back to him, and let him fish the riffle I had just caught the fish in.  I moved a little further downstream – but poor Colin still couldn’t quite get into the timing and I could see his frustration mounting.

In the meantime, the fish seemed to have stopped rising, so I resorted to one of my favorite’s, the Quinchat Glimmer pattern, only modified with red holographic tinsel instead of the gold.  Some folks who fish the Grand River look at this pattern, and are utterly surprised it works.  It’s supposed to be too big,  tied on a size 12 hook. Well, it works at times, and when it works, it really works.  If the fish are hitting just below the surface, when dries don’t seem to get attention, and deeper nymphs aren’t working – this size 12 pattern for me, is quite productive.  Now, for whatever reason during the Canadian Fly Fishing Championships, I couldn’t buy a fish with it, but all other times, I have no problem going to this fly.

I ended up with three browns in the next half hour on the modified Quinchat’s Glimmer. Colin was having no luck at all with the pupae and was still having issues with his casting; I think he started to lose his confidence really. After the three fish, I tried to get Colin involved in the action once again by handing him my rod – but sadly, nothing happened.  As the sun began to set, it became quite chilly and Colin decided to wade back up river and get a sweater out of the van. While he was gone, I ended up with another brown, a foot longer with the same fly.

Colin eventually returned to the river and decided to fish one of the first bits of riffle water we had tried earlier.  Within a few minutes, I heard him hollering, “Dad!”  I looked up and sure enough, saw his rod tip bent over.

“Finally,” I thought to myself. I was so happy for him that finally this evening, he had hooked a fish.  While he was gently fighting, I made my way up to where I was, hoping to get a picture.  As I arrived, and was pulling out the camera, Colin had the fish in hand – but before I could snap a shot, the fish slipped out of his hand.

“Ah well,” I said.  “Congrats on the fish!”

“Yeah, finally.”

It was starting to get dark with the sun now down past the horizon, but some lingering light still available so we continued – Colin continued to fish the same riffle, while I tried casting to some sipping browns on the other side. Five minutes later,  I heard Colin, “Another one, Dad!”

“Yes,” I thought to myself!  Awesome.  Hopefully this will help him get his confidence back, and at least we can end the evening with him knowing he got a couple.  This fish was larger than the first one – about 13″, and he brought it to hand, and was able to hold it long enough for me to snap a likeness of himself and the fish or two:



So now I just have to show Colin how to hold a fish! And he’ll be all set again.


So in all, we caught 9 fish between the two of this evening. When I have a moment, I’ll post the two patterns on the About Fly Fishing site, and link to them with tying instructions.  Both the modified Quinchat’s Glimmer and Elk Hair Caddis I caught fish on were pretty rough flies, not pretty at all. In fact, the EHC was not even tied with elk hair as I couldn’t find my little patch of elk hair but had some deer hair handy.  So I used that instead, with an olive dubbed body, and an Indian neck hackle. Goes to show you – you don’t always have to use exactly what a pattern calls for, huh?


I think I’ll try and find me a nice wee notebook that will fit in a pocket tomorrow.  As long as I remember to bring a long a pen!


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