July 2 and 3rd, 1997, found Skip Wheatley, Bill Kehler and myself at Campbell Lake, a shallow plateau lake a few kilometers south and east of Barnhartville, BC. Campbell is a typical Kamloops area lake, shallow but rich in all types of aquatic life. Trout grow very rapidly in such an environment and it always is a pleasure to spend a day or two fishing this lake.
While the weather this year has hardly been typical of the usual hot dry summers, the days we were there were warm, 30 degrees plus on both days. It takes a special fly to rouse these Kamloops rainbows into striking, especially during the mid to late afternoon heat. However, Skip found the answer on a fly of his own creation that we have named the Wheatley Spratley. Bill and I could only boast of one lost fish each in the first afternoon of fishing using the usually productive Roche Lake Cowdun but Skip landed two beauties of over 2 pounds on his fly plus he had lost several others as well. The fly is rather unique in that it features a very bright purple body with a silver rib and Skip fished it shallow on a floating line to experience some very explosive action! The following day we confirmed that Campbell rainbows will readily take the Wheatley Spratley when we caught and released several more fish on flies borrowed from Skip! The dressing for this fly is the subject of this month's fly tying article.
This fly is tied very similar to the black spratley featured in one of the earlier articles. I will give you the variations that Skip uses which seem to make the fly above average for summer fishing in Campbell Lake. One of his secrets is that the fly is tied on a small hook, typically a number 10 standard shank or smaller. Another is that he typically will dress the body first with a black wool as a filler to achieve a definite cigar shape after the bright purple floss is applied. The third difference in Skip's fly is that an oval tinsel is used for the rib rather than the more usual flat tinsel.
Start the fly by tying in a tail of either violet marabou (my favorite) or guinea feather. Then attach the oval tinsel to the shank so that 2 or 3 inches project past the hook bend. Next wind on the black wool filler from the hook bend to eye and over-wrap with a bright purple floss. Then counter wind the oval tinsel from the hook bend to the eye to form the rib. I next flip the hook in my tying vice to attach the guinea or optional brown pheasant throat hackle and ensure that it does not project past the hook barb. Turn the hook upright again to tie in the wing of either pheasant tail or rump feather. Skip prefers a brown rump pheasant feather with that typical blue-green tinge. To complete the fly, you can wind a small amount of peacock herl to form a head, tie off, cement and you are finished!
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