In fly fishing there are things that seem to receive a whole whack of popularity for obvious reasons, especially fly patterns. There once was a saying that the only three things sure in life are death, taxes and wooly buggers. Certain fly patterns gain a good reputation because a lot of people fish them, a lot of people have confidence in them and if nothing else they downright work on a consistent basis. Then there are some that fly (no pun intended) under the radar and can bail you out when the going gets tough, that is the purpose of this article. Gammarus & Hyalella shrimp are the two common species found in our interior stillwaters, the latter being much smaller than the Gammarus shrimp. When fish get keyed in on tiny (size 20 and smaller) Hyalellas it can be the equivalent of pulling your own hair out strand by strand, but luckily the fish are usually willing to eat a shrimp that is a tad larger than the natural.
I personally never had a sliver of confidence in them until one early spring day in 2010 with a friend of mine on an interior lake. The lake had just iced off, after a pretty challenging day we pulled into a new spot and could see fish cruising the shallows with only an hour left before we had to head out. Just when I thought I had tried everything but the kitchen sink, I spotted a row of flies in my box that I had never paid much attention to. I had seen a couple shrimp swimming around the boat launch and figured I had nothing to lose. I set my strike indicator depth at 24 inches, made a cast right onto the transition from shallow water to deep water and prayed to the fish gods. It wasn’t 30 seconds before my indicator blinked once, then submerged under the water. I put a solid twenty inch rainbow in the net, and put my fly back in the exact same spot. They say one is a fluke, two is a theory and three is a pattern. Well it doesn’t really matter how many big rainbows we connected with in our last hour of fishing but it was astronomically more than three, and I had learned a valuable lesson.
How, When & Why
Hopefully this short article will help ease the learning curve on one of the most productive methods for stillwater fishing in the interior of BC or lake fishing anywhere you may find yourself. As always, if you have any questions on tactics or methods feel free to drop me an email and I’ll be happy to answer you. Until next time happy angling & pray for spring to show its presence soon!