Knouff Lake is a pretty lake lying about an hours drive in the ranching country north and a little east of Kamloops, BC. It was one of the many barren lakes in the Kamloops plateau country around the turn of the 20th century, without fish but loaded with aquatic insects, especially large traveling sedges. In the spring of 1917, local ranchers decided to transport a few spawning rainbow trout captured from a Paul Lake stream. This rather innocuous act was not forgotten and exactly three years later, a group of fly fishermen descended on the lake, not really knowing what to expect. The fishing they experienced was beyond their wildest imagination as many large trout were landed that day, the biggest weighing in at an astonishing 17 pounds! Knouff Lake soon became known as a fishermen's paradise for landing large rainbows on a dry fly, thanks to the proliferation of those huge traveling sedges. A wet fly was also developed to imitate the sedge pupa during periods when the sedges were not hatching. It was called the Knouff Lake Special and this month we will look at my version of this famous wet fly.
Tie in a few barbs of golden pheasant neck feather (the kind with banded tips) on the hook shank to form a tail. Next secure a long peacock herl and also a piece of uni-mylar (the product that is green on one side and red on the other) to the hook shank near the bend so that they project well past the tail. Then wind the uni-mylar forward to the hook eye, either red or green showing, depending on which way that you wind the strip. This is followed by a ribbing of peacock herl, hook bend to hook eye. At this point I like to wind my invisible thread back to the hook bend and forward again to the hook eye so that the peacock herl won't be ripped off at the first slash of a big trout! This is one of the distinct advantages of using invisible thread as the back wind does not affect the appearance of the fly but does make it much stronger. Of course, a reverse technique can also be applied by making a body of solid peacock herl and using the uni-mylar as the ribbing. You now place a blue pheasant rump feather at the hook eye and tie down so that it flows back over the body about as long as the end of the tail. The final step is to wind a turn or two of brown saddle hackle at the hook eye, cement, tie off and you have finished my version of the famous Knouff Lake Special.
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