It’s an outdoor sport done in a wild and awesome environment where an angler attempts to lure a fish in rising to an artificial fly. Good physical conditioning is required as for any other sport.
It’s a science. One needs to know water, it’s chemistry and it’s hydrology behaviour. A good knowledge of physics is helpful in understanding and executing fly casting under all sorts of fishing conditions.
It’s an intuitive art, that delicately varies with the personality and the fantasy of the angler.
To be a good angler and to have fun fly fishing one needs natural or acquired moral and physical qualities.
Author: Claude Bernard
There are many ways fish can be caught with sport fishing. Many will say why fish with a fly? Looking at this will help understand why everyone should give fly fishing a fair chance.
We are all hoping to catch fish since this usually is the fun part!
When the angler knows what to do with the essential knowledge elements that is when the fishing gets better. Perseverance is certainly the key to success! Once understood that the fish catching is only a part of the fly fishing activity all other points of interest become very satisfying even before the first fly is cast and the first fish is on the line. The really important thing is to get to know all those factors that make this sport so beautiful!
You knew that knowledge implies love?
Water for fish
If there is to be fish and fishing there must be quality water.
Where does this water come from?
Rain and snow bring an important supply of running surface water to brooks, rivers and lakes. The remainder of the water comes from underground or acquifer. Nature is very capable of maintaining water at acceptable levels but we humans are often guilty of a lack of respect for her.
The state of watersheds is of major interest for a fly angler.
Food for fish
There are many types of under water insects, crustacians, worms and bloodsuckers, small bait fish, frogs and salamanders plus many land insects blown on the water by winds. That’s what fish eat!
Knowing fish foods, water types in which specific insects live will allow the angler to make a better choice of the proper imitation.
This fly will be a close reproduction of a food item living in the lake or stream at that precise moment. However, a non imitative fly could bring about an opportunistic feeding reaction by a targeted fish.
Proper fly presentation at the right place
Fly fishing is done in two major ways; casting or trolling the fly.
When fishing lakes the angler will choose a streamer to imitate bait fish and give the fly action to duplicate a normal bait fish behaviour.
Knowing the structure of the lake becomes important to drive the boat or canoe near those sites where the fish live or feed.
Often, according to the species, fish will feed in the column of water penetrated by light. It is in that portion of a lake where a large part of available food items are mainly located. It is then up to the angler to control the depth of the fly, the speed and direction of the boat and the action to be applied on the fly.
On a stream as on a lake, presenting a fly after a series of casts is what caracterises fly fishing. All will agree that watching someone casting a well presented fly is sublime.
Imagine you are that good caster! To sum it up, effective fly fishing is presenting the right fly on target at the right time!
Moving about on and in the water
Often lake fishing is done from a boat or canoe. Whether this is done with oars, paddles or an outboard motor it is imperative to do it in a safe way while presenting the fly at the right spot.
It is great fun to use a float tube or U-boat to fish small lakes wearing chest waders and foot palms to move about. Well seated in the tube or U-boat, in the water near the fish to cast a fly, the angler is in paradise!
In stream fishing, the angler often enters the water to cast.
Modern technology offers leak proof breathable waders of great comfort. Moving about in the water must be done in a stealthy and safe way. Being in the water allows for a strategic way of positioning for a superb and effective fly presentation. However, on certain imposing eastern Atlantic salmon rivers large canoes from 24 to 28 feet are required during high water conditions. The construction methods of these canoes have evolved over the years. In other parts of Canada drift boats equipped with oars are used on many rivers.
For an amateur using different recreational fishing techniques only a limited number of accessories are needed.
A fly rod adapted to the size of the anticipated quarry, a reel on which will backing line to which will be tied a fly line. At the end of the fly line will a leader.
It is at the leader’s fine tippet end where the fly is tied. For sure a fly box is needed containing those flies needed to suggest food items found in the water to be fished.
Salmon anglers will carry attractive wet and dry flies. A person new to recreational fishing will need to acquire important equipment such as a boat or breathable chest waders.
It is important to remember that in spin fishing a heavy lure is cast. Weight of the lure is what propels it. In fly fishing it is the weight of the fly line that is cast and the fly goes along for the ride.
The backward and forward motion of the rod is how the cast is made longer to present the fly on target.
Learning fly fishing
It is highly recommended to attend a formal fly fishing school. Fly fishing clubs, local associations, specialty fly shops and qualified guides offer this type of training.
Fields of interest related to fly fishing
It is fascinating to notice the curiosity that the fly fishing fraternity has for all those fields of interest related to this magnificent sport.
Many have a passion for one or many fields such as angling photography the study and observation of wildlife and flora, involvement in fish habitat restoration, fly tying, water conservation, biology , entomology and hydrology.
Angling art, litterature and collectibles are the interest of many.
To fly fish... Why not? It can be the sport of a lifetime!
After reading this, it is most likely easier for you to see that fly fishing is not only about catching fish but a complete set of elements of knowledge related to the sport.
Here is a saying from the “Sotherbay Guide to Fly Fishing for Trout” by the British author Charles Jardine: «The elegance of fly fishing, it’s magnificent equipment, the beauty of the fly, the fish tracking pleasure it causes, all these satisfactions are stronger than everything».
When one has learned and mastered the knowledge and the basic abilities you will feel the need to keep on learning. Fly fishing can be a refined art if one feels like going that far!
Many fly anglers consider fly fishing as being the most versatile method of recreational fishing. It is the one that will give you the greatest challenge.
There is no limit to fish with a fly it’s the sport of a lifetime!
Author: Claude Bernard
For the past 25 years my angling friends and I have often asked ourselves what will happen to the Canadian fly fishing heritage once we are gone. Over time most fly fishers have acquired all kinds of objects related to the sport.
Many have said they will bequeath their belongings to family or friends while many were hoping a Museum would accept and protect this heritage. Since the early eighties a few unsuccessful attempts at setting up a Museum never got past the trial step. For a Museum to be born and survive it needs a roof, a structured body to get it organised, to look after it, give it life, someone to raise it’s funding and strong political will.
At the 2005 Québec/Maritimes Fly Fishing Forum Saturday night banquet held in Granby each year, informal discussions between interested people became serious. The next morning an apparent consensus emerged. During the following weeks the Waterloo City Council and the Waterloo Public Library showed interest in the organisation of a Museum dedicated to the protection of our Québec and Canadian fly fishing heritage.
Shortly after all members of the “Club des 20”, a group of seasoned fly fishers passionately approved the project.
One of its’ members, Jean-Guy Côté, CEO of UNI-Products was the first to bequeath his personal fly fishing collection to the new Museum. In the spring of 2006, Mr. Côté new his illness would end his life shortly. In fact he died on July 12, 2006.
A provisional Board of Directors was set up with leaders from the Waterloo Public Library, the Mayor of the City of Waterloo and three fly fishers. It was agreed that volunteer work would be done to revamp the large basement hall of the Library to set up the Museum. That room 30’ by 27’ with shelving and furniture was beautifully restored after 270 hours of volunteer work.
On January 17, 2007, the Canadian Fly Fishing Museum was launched at a press conference with 50 guests in attendance.
Now the Museum is home to more than 30 collections including that of Jean-Guy Côté, that of ATOS and the Paul Plante Honorary Mention along with the 15 commemorative plaques of former winners. The Jean-Guy Côté Award was created to honour Canadian fly tiers for their outstanding contribution to fly tying. An assortment of fly fishing books is available to visitors.
All Canadians are invited to submit their collectables to the Museum for safekeeping.
The Board of Directors prepared the Museum business plan and it’s incorporation structure. Financial help is awarded yearly by the City of Waterloo, the Caisse Populare of Waterloo and Granby’s Québec/Maritimes Fly Fishing Forum along with all the membership fees.
During the summer the Museum is opened to the public on Thursday to Sunday from 13h00 to 16h00. On summer holiday Mondays the Museum will also be opened. For the rest of the year visitors are most welcome but reservations are required.
We are located at 650, de la Cour Street in Waterloo, Québec.
Author: Claude Bernard