Fresh winter trout are a true taste treat.

Anglers enjoy still-water fishing in winter

Vancouver Island residents don't have to bore holes in the ice

Still-water trout fishing is a year-long addiction for many Comox Valley anglers. It takes several forms, as in bait fishing from shore or boats and fly fishing from anything that floats. Devoted practitioners entice trusting trout to bite hooks wrapped with an amazing array of material made to look like food.

Residents of the Comox Valley and other parts of the Island are truly blessed with soft water conditions as in low elevation lakes throughout the Island, otherwise we would be boring holes in ice as they do in the Interior for their winter fishing.

I am counting on mild weather throughout the coming months. In the case of continuing cold weather, I strongly recommend you avoid ice fishing on Island lakes because I do not believe the ice gets thick enough for safe travel.

Weather to date has been a rash of cold weather, followed by warm spells and hopefully the warm weather prevails. In discussion with a good friend, he recounted how successful he had been at shore finishing during the past few days. “Yes,” his wife confirmed his success by noting “we enjoyed four dinners of fresh trout in a row.”

Shore fishing has some advantages in that you can often make a small fire to help keep you warm while waiting for fickle trout to bite. Shore fishing is an excellent way to get children involved in family fishing outings. It has the advantage of allowing children to move about in  play activities while keeping an eye on their rod.

Simple rod holders made from forked sticks or more permanent ones made of metal, add much to the freedom of movement for all participants. Bait takes many forms as in Berkley Power Baits or worms you have dug from the garden.

Floats on light spinning outfits always create excitement for everybody when one starts to move away as a fish takes the bait. Warm, weatherproof clothing is essential to enjoying any winter activity including fishing – so dress appropriately

Winter fly fishing is an addiction I have endured for many years, and somehow Elaine puts up with the endless fishing season. Fly fishing in the winter is primarily a wet line activity that can also be practised with dry lines and long leaders with flies that sink.

There are not many hatches during the winter months so it follows that the flies we use are made to imitate larval or nymph stages of most insects. Exceptions are leeches where small or large size choices of this important pattern will often effect the success of your day.

When we fish from boats in the winter there is often a tendency to fish the deeper waters of the lake. This habit should be tempered by the knowledge that trout will frequently feed in quite shallow water during winter months because many of their food sources are in the shallow water.

If you troll or cast your flies along the edges of shoals with depths varying from 10 to 20 feet you stand a good chance of taking trout that are on feeding forays into shoal waters. Remember they are predicting a warmer than usual winter for our part of the world so think river and still-water fishing.

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At the Courtenay fish and game club meeting there were conservation fundraiser events promoted which you may wish to support.

1. The Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) needs a new flight pen for injured birds. They are in a national contest to win $100,000 and they need your help by voting. For details visit  their website at www.wingtips.org The idea is to vote every day from Dec. 4-10.

2. The Club Calendar, an important conservation fundraiser initiated by the Record. Available at $5 from the Record, Sears, Gone Fishing and Tyee Marine plus club members.

Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.