Don's Fly Tying - the Small Herring

[the Small Herring]

Fishing friends are special! Why? I recently accepted an invitation from my fellow trap shooting and steelheader friend, Dave Upper, to do some ocean salmon and cod fishing out of Winter Harbour. Now Dave lives with his vivacious wife Diane at Bowser, BC, so this meant a drive to Vancouver Island, a chance I immediately jumped at with much anticipation! After a short overnight at their oceanside residence, I met Dave's friend Steve who lives at Coombs, BC, the next morning. We then readied Dave's boat with supplies for a journey to the Coal Harbour launch site west of Port Hardy, BC. We planned to overnight for the next three days on Dave's custom made fishing boat, the "Chaos". After setting some crab traps in the waters near Coal Harbour, we headed for the light house point at Winter Harbour where we heard from returning fishermen that spring salmon could be found close to the rocky shore!

We soon found that indeed some springs were in close as we caught several, releasing any under ten pounds and we kept four from 14 to 24 pounds! We were fortunate in that the next day the fish had moved out several miles in the open ocean both south and north of Winter Harbour. It was quite interesting to me that the fish we caught the first afternoon near the lighthouse were feeding on very small herring while the salmon we hooked during the following days in the outside waters were filled with normal six inch herring. Perhaps we were a bit lucky that first afternnon because the first hootchie fly I tried was a small herring imitation. Yes, not exactly fly fishing but catch fish it did, both Springs and Coho, although the wild Coho were released. Now Dave is a fly tier and does add extra dazzle to his store bought hootchies so I will describe a close approximation for you of his small herring hootchie!

[A Nice Spring Salmon Taken on a Small Herring Hootchie]



Pull out the string center stuffer in a large size of oval tinsel and thread a piece cut to fit the hook shank and tie down at the eye. In the fly shown, I only had small oval tinsel on hand so I pushed one piece through to cover the hook shank then tied two pieces, top and bottom, to fill out the fly body. Before securing the oval tinsel at the hook bend, push it forward to make room to tie in a short piece of green oval tinsel at the hook bend to form the tail. The strands of the green tinsel can be separated to make a wider tail. Then tie down the silver tinsel also at the hook bend. Next, make a wing by tying in two lengths of bright red floss at the hook eye so it flows back over the body. Of course, a real herring does not have a red wing but somehow the Winter Harbour salmon did not mind! Finish the fly with small stick on mirage eyes. I don't trust the adhesive on these eyes to hold so I heavily coat this area with clear epoxy! By the way, you would not believe how good the spring salmon tasted fresh off my bar-b-que!

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