My thirty plus year career with BC Telephone only afforded me two short years in Kamloops. I consider those two years very productive, however, both work wise and for enhancing my knowledge of a favourite pastime, fly fishing! While living in Kamloops, I joined the local fly fishing club and had the opportunity to learn from so many expert fly fishermen! The subject of this month's article is a fly developed by a Kamloops master, Jack Shaw, author of "Fly Fish the Trout Lakes".
In June when damsel flies are hatching, it is common to fish a green damsel fly nymph with a wiggly retrieve to imitate the progress of the damsel nymph as it heads to the shore reeds. Here, it will crawl up the reed stem, clinging tightly while the outer skin dries and then splits open allowing the new adult to slowly pull itself free of the nymphal case! At this stage, the damsel is very soft and its colour is nothing like the brilliant blue with black bands that you see on damsels flitting about over the water. When the damsel first pulls itself from the case, it is more of a greenish yellow but a dramatic transformation occurs in the next twenty minutes or so! The newly emerged adult hardens, the wings straighten out parallel to its body and the colour changes from the "ugly ducking to beautiful swan" scenario! But this miracle is sometimes interrupted by wind gusts that rub the reeds together throwing some of the still soft, greenish yellow damsels back into the water.
Jack Shaw tells of watching this happen one morning on Stump Lake, south of Kamloops on the old Merritt highway. What he thought were Coots splashing near the reeds were in fact, large Stump Lake rainbows feeding on the soft and tasty wind blown damsels. It turns out that he had little success fishing a green damsel fly nymph but when he switched to the yellowish fly that we will examine, he had great success, a tribute to his keen observation and understanding of aquatic life!
Tie in the gold wire to the hook shank, then wrap the yellow wool, a thin single strand, from hook bend to hook eye. Counter wrap the gold wire also to the hook eye in evenly spaced turns to form the rib. At this stage, I like to flip the fly in my vice to apply the throat hackle, then turn the fly again before tying in the fairly long light turkey wing. Ensure that the wing lies parallel to the body. The final step is a turn or two of thin yellow chenille to form a rather large head, tie off, cement, and you have finished a Jack Shaw Stump Lake newly emerged Damsel creation!
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