There as been an ongoing debate as to whether or not spring was going to happen in 2012. Well, on Friday May, 11 we got our answer – it was a beautiful warm day full of the promise of spring.
I joined about a dozen members of the Comox Valley Fly Fishers for a club outing on Spider Lake with the purpose of celebrating some long overdue chironomid and sedge hatches. Pictured with this column are the assembled members of the club during the ritual of lunch break on a small point that juts out into the northwest bay of the lake.
The ritual is a part of the day’s fishing when members of the club take time out from the intensity of the fishing to share notes, check fly patterns and generally share successes with those who are having challenges in catching fish – in this case this scribe was having a tough day.
You may recall I ran a picture of a fine catch of Spider Lake trout taken on chironomid patterns about three weeks ago, during the cold weather. Insect hatches have been slow and in keeping with the burst of warm weather on Friday I made a serious error in my selection of patterns to fish with. I assumed we would have great hatch of chironomids. But the insects had other plans.
Yes, I caught smaller trout from this season’s releases, but none of the larger ones from last year. In the meantime, several members of the club were catching fine two-year old trout on leech and large nymph patterns. After lunch I put on a small micro leech and in a matter of minutes I caught and released three nice pan-sized fish.
One thing I thought was unusual was the total absence of swallows feeding near the surface. I moved from the crowded bay into the main body of the lake and promptly caught a nice two-year old trout I brought to the net. When I opened the stomach it contained small green daphnia and no chironomids. These tiny creatures are like fine-grained cereal and are too small to match with fly patterns. Leech patterns, dragonfly nymphs and sedge pupae patterns are your best bet or trolls with worms when they are on daphnia.
It is an important truism – a day spent on the water in the company of like-spirited souls attached to fishing rods during a beautiful spring day is a soul-inspiring gift from nature – and if you happen to catch some fish you have been truly blessed. This day will not be subtracted from your life span. Everybody I talked to during this day was having such a day.
Friday was also a great day to be on the saltwater. Just a reminder that the season is open for rock cod and lingcod in local waters along with some promising chinook salmon that offer exciting possibilities. To this end my friends Charley Vaughan, Bruce Bell and his son from Calgary got together in Charley’s boat for a surprise birthday fishing trip for Bruce. They launched at Big Rock in Campbell River and following some good advice they fished off Shelter Point before the tide changed. They caught two respectable rock cod.
During the tide change they fished the Lighthouse run below Quadra. Their
best advice was that anchovies fished at appropriate depths were producing good catches of chinook. To this end they used anchovies and brought four chinooks to the net – one sub-legal they released, and three legals from seven to 16 pounds. Not a bad way to celebrate your 65th birthday.
It is interesting to note that the fish were feeding primarily on small hake that are abundant in these waters as of this writing. It seems the small hake are attracting good numbers of legal feeder chinook. In talking to the guys that evening they were surprised there were so few boats on the water. In their case they were the only boat at the lighthouse on that tide change and there were only two other boats on the hump.
I just received reports of limit catches of chinook on Century Shoals and Kitty Coleman hump on the weekend.
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.