Don's Fly Tying - Claret Lake Fly

[Claret Lake Fly]

Why is it that the older you get, the busier you seem to be? I haven't found time so far this season to due justice to the great fishing in our Okanagan country! Yes, I did participate in our annual High Lakes Telephone derby in June but other than one expedition a couple of weeks later that saw us stopped by high elevation snow drifts, I cannot report a single new fishing trip. Yestersday, however, changed all that! My friend, Ray Hunt, suggested we try to locate another high elevation lake west of Peachland. Neither of us had been there before so we both inputted the coordinates into our GPS units and started off with high hopes of finding Claret Lake. It is a walk in lake over 5000 feet high so the recent warm weather did not deter us. It did prove to be a challenge, not to locate the lake, but to find the secret ATV trail that makes the hike with float tubes and all the necessary fishing gear possible. To explain further, we first saw the lake through thick pine and spruce trees with lots of blow-downs right to water's edge. Certainly no place to try to walk in loaded with gear! To get on with the story, we knew there had to be an easier way in and finally reached a launch point on the lake about four hours after leaving, fully double the time we had anticipated that it would take to reach the spot!

Just before launching our float tubes, Ray asked me what fly he should use. As there was little surface activity, I suggested a wet fly like a Spratley or Woolly Bugger. He happened to pull a claret attractor fly from his flybox and asked, "What about this one?" Without much thought I said, "Sure, give it a try, perhaps it echos the name of this lake!" Well, to my delight and perhaps slight embarrassment, Ray proceeded to outfish me five to one and all bigger fish as well! I tried all of my patterns that worked well in the past but those fish simple wanted the claret fly, the only one Ray had in his tackle box! After fishing, I borrowed Ray's rather beat up fly to tie several copies at home. You can bet I will not visit another high elevation lake in the summer time without bringing this fly and that is the subject of this month's fly tying review, a pattern we will call the Claret Lake fly!



The first step is to crimp the hook barb and slip a gold bead to the hook eye. Next, tie in a short claret marabou tail mixed with a few strands of claret angel hair. Then, at about the halfway point on the hook shank, tie in a clump of brown calf tail, allowing it to flow back over the tail. At this point, attach a piece of thin gold wire. Next, select a long clump of claret chenille and wind it forward from the shank midpoint to the gold bead at the hook eye. Now rib this in three or four turns with the gold wire. Tie off, cement and you have finished an excellent attractor fly for high elevation lakes, just ask Ray Hunt!

Your comments are welcome at "dhaaheim at telus dot net"

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