Don's Fly Tying - the Young Leech

[Young Leech]

It was already mid November and only a hint of snow in the high country south of Big White in East Kelowna. The whitetail deer rut should have been in full swing but there wasn't enough snow for tracking so I called my friend, Al Kouritzin, to postpone a planned deer hunt from Tuesday of that week to Friday. I just had seen a picture of Kirsten Young holding a 13.5 pound rainbow trout in the Nov/Dec 2008 issue of BC Outdoors Sport Fishing and you can bet this was in the back of my mind! I have fished the lake that Kirsten caught this whopper several times before as it is a little more than an hour drive over the Connector west of Kelowna. Now the Connector can be very treacherous and should be avoided if possible in winter conditions but I had just heard a forecast of clear conditions on the highway. Since the weather was too warm for deer hunting, why not make a late season trip to this lake of giant trout?

So on kind of an impulse, I threw my car topper into the back of my truck along with my fly fishing equipment and headed west to Kirsten's lake! When I arrived, there was only one other vehicle in the vicinity of the boat launch site. I quickly packed my boat and gear to the water but before launching, I decided to walk over to the nearby couple who I noticed were preparing to do some fly casting from shore. Although I had never met these folks, conversation comes easy to like minded fly fishermen! They introduced themselves as Bob and Kirsten Young from nearby Merritt. "Yes," said Kirsten, "There are still some big fish in this lake, better than ever since the stocking of triploids in several Merritt lakes, including this one!" "Hold on," she said, "I have a picture of a big trout I caught on a purple leech this summer!" When I saw the photo, I immediately recognized it as the one I was recently admiring in my Sport Fishing magazine so I said, "Wow, I was just looking at your fish last evening!" Kisten knew that the picture of her 13.5 pound rainbow had been submitted to BC Outdoors, but they had not received a copy of the magazine so they were pleased that it had been published. We went on to talk about other large fish including Bob's 8 plus pounder but of even greater interest to me was that most of these grand fish were caught on a reddish maroon leech. Never to miss an opportunity for more knowledge, I asked Bob if I could see a copy of this fly and he was happy to oblige! Now it's my turn to share it with you and to credit Bob and Kirsten, we will call it the "Young Leech"!



Start by crimping the hook barb so that you can slide a gold bead through to the hook eye. Next, dub a thin body of maroon sparkle antron. If you do not have this material, a blend of equal parts of black and red seal mixed in a coffee grinder will do nicely! Now, just behind the bead, tie in three or four strands of flashabou. I like to mix silver and gold strands. A long flat wing is next, first with maroon marabou, then overlaid with a maroon saddle hackle, tied low over the body and projecting well past the hook bend. Whip finish, cement and you have completed the Young Leech, a dynamite big trout fly!

Your comments are welcome at "dhaaheim at telus dot net"

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