Changing Lanes–Making the move to fly fishing

It took me a while to learn that smaller was better. This Panther Martin helped me find fish in the early days.

It took me a while to learn that smaller was better. This Panther Martin helped me find fish in the early days.

When I first moved to BC back in 2011, I found the fishing to be kind of tough. I’d never really seen a trout before, let along fished for one, so I didn’t know what I was doing. I spent the first couple of years fishing like I would normally and not catching a blessed thing. In fact, the single best day of fishing I had in my first two years here was a lake that had bass in it, something I know how to find and fish for. Needless to say, ‘Fishless’ Doug Paton wasn’t exactly the most fun guy to be around.

I did all the usual research and read about people who regularly caught fish using similar things to what I was using, but I still wasn’t having any luck. Eventually, I did what most people do when they’re not finding any fish and hit up one of the local fishing stores.

IMAG0810

A poor photo of the flies I bought that day.

It wasn’t most enlightening experience and the best piece of advice that the guy at the store offered me was, “Frankly, you’re better off hanging a fly under a bobber.” I wasn’t impressed. I hadn’t wanted to get into fly fishing, mostly because I didn’t want to go through the process of shopping for a new setup, but also because I’m stubborn and I felt that I shouldn’t have to learn a new way of fishing just to catch fish in BC. But, regardless of what I thought of the advice I got that day, I listened to what he had to say and humoured him by picking up a few flies to try under a bobber.

Time went on and I got a little better at fishing, in fact, that summer I actually started

A beautiful river rainbow.

A beautiful pre-fly fishing rainbow.

to figure out what I doing on the waters of BC. I caught a few fish, I explored some rivers and, most importantly, I did it all without having to use flies. I felt pretty good about that and was just starting to convince myself that I didn’t need to take up fly fishing in order to catch fish, but there was still something missing.

I noticed that while I’d figured out how to catch fish under certain circumstances, like in a river or smaller stream, I still wasn’t catching fish in any of the lakes that were close to me. People would talk about those lakes and all the fish they were catching, but every time I went out there, which was fairly often, all I caught was weeds. I was starting to wonder if maybe the people I was talking to were full of it.

IMAG0832

Where I fell in love with river fishing and caught some of my first fish in BC.

Finally, one day, I tried something a little different. Over the course of the summer, along with the ones that I had purchased at the suggestion of the guy in the fishing shop, I had managed to acquire more flies. I had friends who had passed on some of their favourite patterns for fishing some of the lakes and, after a while, curiousity got the better of me and I tied one on. To my surprise, I caught a fish. A pretty nice one, too.

It happened again a little while later on a different lake, and, although I didn’t manage to land that fish, it was the first fish I’d caught on that lake since the first time I was there, nearly two years before, and lost a very nice fish before I could get it in the net.

Then it happened. I was at my usual spot–a lake close to me with, frankly, terrible fishing–and I decided today was the day I would finally follow the advice of the guy from fishing shop. I tied on a fly, attached a bobber to the line and tossed it out. Now, I’ve already mentioned that this lake had terrible fishing and I wasn’t kidding. I’ve spent a lot of time on here and still have periods of time I fish it weekly. It’s close, it’s easy access, at least as far as getting there goes, and I can usually have a fairly enjoyable day of throwing a line into the water. I never come here to catch fish, though. They’re in there. I’ve seen them cruising around, but they’ve always managed to elude me.


The place I go to work on my casting, not to catch fish.

The place I go to work on my casting, not to catch fish.


At any rate, I wasn’t expecting much when I tied that fly on, I really wasn’t, but to my complete and utter surprise, after less than a minute of being in the water, the bobber plunged under the water. I didn’t land the fish, or even get a chance to play it a little, but it was enough to convince me that I might need to suck it up and get a fly rod, which is exactly what happened a few weeks later.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the water calls.

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