Some years ago shortly after moving to Kamloops, British Columbia, a long period of hot weather had ended in late August. Fishing had been in the summer doldrums and I felt a stronge urge to try some fly casting for trout at one of the local lakes. Because Jocko Lake was very close to my new home in Kamloops, I hefted my trusty 10 foot car topper into my pickup truck and headed to the lake with my small dog Pepper for company! I noticed a few other fishermen at anchor when I arrived, so not being too familiar with the lake, I anchored nearby but still at a respectable distant away from the water that they were using for their fly casting. A couple of hours went by with very little action, either for myself or for the other anglers. I had changed flies several times and finally decided to try a brown halfback. Much to my surprise, a large Jocko rainbow decided that the halfback was just the medicine that he wanted! After a strong tussle, I released about a 4 pound fish, feeling that the recent warm weather may have imparted a muddy taste the big rainbow. Soon after, I rowed into shore as the evening shadows were beginning to fall, and one of the other anglers also left the water to come and talk with me. He introduced himself as Irving Ross, a member of the Kamloops Fly Fishers. He said that he enjoyed watching me catch and release the large rainbow and would I be interested in coming to the Kamloops Fly Club meeting? Of course, I felt honoured about the invitation and soon after became a member of the Kamloops Fly Fishers! This month, we will look at how to tie a basic but often very productive fly, the versatile halfback.
Start the fly by attaching two brown goose quills to form a very short tail. Next wrap the hook shank with fine peacock herl or several strands of brown ostrich herl to create the fly body. The thorax is next, about 1/3 the length of the fly body. First make a couple of turns of orange wool at the hook eye, then on top of the hook, place the quill end of a small piece of pheasant tail feather also at the hook eye and tie it down about one third of the way back to the tail. Now palmer a brown or black saddle hackle starting just after the orange wool back to the 1/3 point where you tied down the pheasant feather. Clip the top of the hackle off and then pull the pheasant over and ahead to the hook eye and tie it off, cutting the excess material flush at the hook eye. Cement your final half hitches and you have completed an excellent all purpose nymph fly for a wide variety of trout water.
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