June is a favorite month for lake rainbows in Western Canada. A good friend of mine, Tony Lillington, suggested that we fish Hatheume Lake just west of Kelowna, BC, one fine June day a few years ago. At that time, the lake was strictly catch and release although now, thanks to some prudent fisheries management, a limit of one trout may be retained for the table. With the ever present loons for added company, we launched Tony's canoe and started a cast, troll and search adventure for the Hatheume rainbows. It wasn't long before Tony's rod arched with a wild leaping rainbow of some two pounds plus. After the second or third fish that he had released, and without a nibble on my fly, I became very interested in what Tony was using. It turned out that the fly Tony was having so much success with was a mohair leech, of dark maroon or burgundy color. Fortunately, Tony had a couple of extras and, was willing to share the bounty with me! We landed and released many fish that day, mostly on Tony's dark maroon mohair leech so I will share the very simple tying procedure with you in this month's article.
Tony's burgundy leech is an extremely simple fly to tie. Start by attaching a four inch length of burgundy mohair to the hook shank and cinch it at the hook eye. Wrap it back from there to the hook bend and then forward to the hook eye. The next step is very easily accomplished with invisible mending thread. Simply fold the mohair back along the top of the hook shank and wind your thread to the hook bend and then back to the hook eye, pushing the mohair fibers so that most of them are parallel with the hook shank. Finally, trim off the remaining mohair about the length of the hook shank past the hook bend to form the tail of the fly. If a lot of the mohair fibers are still at right angles to the hook body, you can drop the fly into a cup of boiling water for a minute and then carefully press the fibers backward to give that leech like appearance to the fly! As an option, you can form a black head with floss or thick tying thread before cementing.
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