Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Compassion For the Cockroach and Other Matters From the Heart

La Cocuracha

The word cockroach comes from the Spanish word from the caption above.  The word translates to english as crazy bug.  It's a highly effective species dating back to the dinosaur era over 200 million years ago and it lives in just about every part of the world preferring warmer climates such as the tropics.  Since I'm on a roll I'll throw down a few more facts about this leviathan of insects. The cockroach can squeeze into a crack as thin as a quarter and enjoys the sensation of being touched….therefore enjoys being petted.  The cockroach breathes oxygen through tiny holes called spiracles and check this out….they can go for 40 minute swims.  Yes that's right 40 minute free dives!!  Nice.  Now you may see where this is going.  After spending the last six weeks in Northern Thailand with my fly tying crew,  I have encountered a number of these terrestrials in a number of locations throughout my journey.  They are actually quite a shiny and colour co-ordinated bug with twitchy legs and huge antennae.   If you were to tie a pattern to replicate the bug a size 2 would be about the average.

As I watch one work a crumb on the floor while waiting for  my meal, I have started to  think how much different we'd feel if these beasts of the insect world inhabited the banks of our favourite streams.   There's no way a trout could resist a meal of this size, especially crawling along the bottom.  I started envisioning a size 2 cockroach caught in a bank seam after falling from it's perch.  The violent splash from the attack of the trout would be heart stopping,  like that of a cicada strike.  It would take a big fish to ingest a bug of that size and I started wondering if I would welcome a cockroach migration on the river large enough to cover my boat.  In that situation I probably would invite the critters on board and bask in the glory of a new abundant protein source for the trout of the river and  I would imagine there have been trout somewhere not too far away that have had the pleasure of dining on the prehistoric critters as they do inhabit many of our urban areas.  

For now though I'm hoping that once this lil' bastard finishes downing the crumb that he doesn't have plans on joining me footside once my meal arrives.

Some New Additions to the Menu

Attractors are a key part of the arsenal of any fly fisherman and guides especially love foam terrestrial patterns because they are easily fished from the boat.  Some of the key things to look for in a pattern is a fly that will land upright or recover from a reversed landing with a slight twitch.  I've been working with the tying team here on foam patterns and after many years of resistance, the tiers are embracing the foam and are re producing some great patterns all of which have this upright quality.  It's enjoyable working with the Thai's.  My command of the Thai language is abysmal and they speak little to no english but most of the tiers have been at this for over 10 years so we can communicate easily enough through visuals.  They spend most of the instruction days laughing at me for reasons I'm not to sure of but I'm a big fan of laughter so I suck it up and roll with it and join in with the laughter as I add my two cents of fragmented Thai phrases.  It's going well and I'm stoked on the new patterns I will be adding to the catalogue this year.

I'm done here in a few weeks and will be going back to the Kootenays to take care of some biz there before heading to South America in the new year to get some angling time in.  Really looking forward to chasing the Browns of the Andes and Patagonia's.

After last year's flood on the Elk, the fishery took a hit and the fish never really got settled until the fall, which at that time I was entrenched in the pursuit of trophy rainbows on the Columbia.  Spencer, Blair and Jonny were on the Elk regularly and had some epic days in October on the Elk.  Blue Winged Olives were in abundance and although the days are shorter, the peak activity of feeding makes for a full day of hookups.  Over in the West on the Columbia it was  nothing shy of jaw dropping on the days when it really turned on.  Hooking up with healthy, fat rainbows in the 20 to 25 inch range is a river anglers dream.  Lots of nymphing but big ugly shit was also getting good reviews from the brutes of the 'jurassic'.  

Fall Rainbow on the Columbia

Next year we are strongly recommending our loyal customers to pick this period to book trips on both Rivers.  Nelson at this time of year is about a three and a half hour drive as RV traffic which slows hwy 3 has vanished.  Spending a few days on each river is a nice way to close out the season and the angling pressure on both streams in October is pretty much non existent.  Big dries and blue wings on the Elk and a bit of everything on the Columbia at this time will bring up the gems of the river who dig into the prime lies with aggressive posturing to ensure their fat reserves are plentiful for the winter.

For early season (early June to mid July) we will be in the Nelson BC area on the Columbia.  We will also be adding the Kettle River as an alternate float after June 15th for some variance from the surging mass of water in the Columbia drainage.  Caddis and ant hatches will be the staple diet for the rainbows and dry fly fishing at this time is as good as it gets on the Columbia.  Due to the current trend of late runoff in Fernie, we feel it's best to offer the prime angling possibilities available in the region and the Columbia is definitely where it's at.  The fishing there is better than those of us who fish it have ever seen.  There are very few anglers on this river which is remarkable considering it's current yield….may not last forever.  We will be adding a jet boat to the fleet in order to cover the water more effectively although the drift boats will still have their place at certain times.

I will be following a current issue that has potential to harm our beloved Elk River.  As many of you know the coal mines of TECK have been releasing an alarmingly high amount of Selenium into the water over the last few years.  They have put a water management plan in place in order to reverse the trend and are trying some new technology that could have some positive results which would ensure the health of the system.  But like any company they are profit drive and because they feed a lot of mouths in the valley, they are well supported often at the expense of the environment.  We are committed to seeing that there promised efforts are being met and I will keep you updated on this as much as I can.  The fish and this river have given us so much joy and love over the years it's time we gave something back.   Pray for the river, burn some incense, offer a chicken….whatever it takes.  Let's save the finest cutthroat fishery on the planet from the demise of over industrialization.

Sabaa dii friends….hope your winter is a prosperous one.