Laurie Hall took up fly fishing late in life. He spent much of his working career in the forest industry at Quesnel and after retirement, moved to Sechelt, BC. Besides fishing, we both were avid trapshooters and it was in this environment that Laurie frequently questioned me about all aspects of fly fishing. I clearly remember the best round of handicap trap shooting of my life when I shot a 99x100, Laurie shot next to me on that squad. He had nothing but praise for me although he scored a very respectable 95x100! For many years, Laurie fished the big rivers in the Terrace area for salmon and steelhead using conventional hardware but when I mentioned at one of our trap shoots that I had scored well on Lakelse River cohoe using flies, his interest immediately became evident. I promised to send Laurie a few of my hand tied cohoe flies to his new home in Sechelt. Well, this set an amazing process in motion as Laurie soon mastered the art of fly casting and not being satisfied with purchasing flies, also began to tie his own salmon and steelhead fur and feather imitations! I recall a trap shoot in Vancouver a few years ago when Laurie showed me his collection of salmon flies and in fact, more than repaid my favour to him when he gave me five of his best producing flies!
After Laurie became a confirmed fly fisherman, he made an annual fall trip to the Trout Creek camp site just west of Smithers to fish for cohoe and steelhead at the junction of the creek and the Skeena River. I joined Laurie at this magnificent place in the late 90s to enjoy some terrific cohoe and steelhead fly fishing. The cohoe preferred a streamer type fly such as my Jungle Cock Cohoe (October 2000) but the steelhead happily intercepted a bottom bounced egg pattern that Laurie liked to use. Sadly, Laurie Hall recently past away but we will relive some of his experiences by examining the weighted egg fly in this month's fly tying article.
Open a small split shot and crimp it just behind the hook eye. Some work at shaping it with needle nose pliers may be necessary due to the thickness of the hook shank. I then cement it firmly in place and after allowing it to dry, I dab the lead with orange dimensional fabric paint, available in sewing shops. It is best to prepare a few hooks in this manner and allow the paint to dry over night before proceeding to the next step. When dry, figure eight and cut short a piece of orange yarn to the hook shank. Slid it forward and do it again once or twice until the shank is covered to the hook bend with yarn. Trim in a round egg shape, tie off, cement and you have finished the weighted egg fly, a real steelhead winner!
The split shot is a very significant feature for this fly because when steelhead are not rising, most flies pass harmlessly over the fish well clear of the river bottom where the fish are lying. The split shot, while making the fly a bit more awkward to cast, does an excellent job of getting your fly to the fish's nose right at river bottom! Good luck and thanks, Laurie!
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