Updated: Jun 21, 2019
BC Interior lake season is usually in full swing from late-April to late-October, and one of the most common questions we get asked is "Which flies do I bring up this weekend?". Although there are some flies that seem to work better in lakes at certain times of the year, these 10 MUST HAVE fly patterns should adorn every fly anglers box in a variety of sizes and colours.
Folk lore has it that John Kent designed this fly during his tenure at Tunkwa Lake. Whatever it's origin, it is a go to fly on pretty much any BC lake. They work well both trolled, and cast and stripped.
When fish are picking off chironomids higher up in the water column, chromies are a must.
Ice Cream Cone
Most die-hard anglers will have these in a broad range of colours (red, black, grey, green, olive, and brown to name a few) and sizes - from an 18 scud style to a 10 in a curved nymph hook. Starting off with a black silver rib, in a size 16 or 14 curved style nymph, should get you going.
Second only to chironomids, scuds make up a huge portion of a trout's diet. They work really well cast, and then retrieved in short bursts. It's also a good pattern to troll slooooooooooooowly in a row boat, pontoon, or kick boat.
Aka. Micro, minnie, dazzle, etc. etc. There's a lot of debate over the actual tying method for this fly, so you may find it either with a marabou body or with a picked out dubbed body. These can mimic almost every nymph in BC stillwaters including damsels, dragons, leeches, mayflies, and caddis.
Much like the Pumpkinhead and Micro Leech, Wooly Buggers are an excellent example of a fly that looks like nothing specific, but looks like pretty much any nymph you need it to.
Designed nearly 70 years ago to represent a stillwater caddis, they come in a variety of colours and sizes.
Designed by Denny Rickard, this is a super effective pattern for representing scuds or leeches. It's super buggy and super fishy. Many an epic day have been spent with this fly alone.
Pheasant Tail Nymph (aka PTN)
When the mayflies are hatching, a PTN is a must. Typically mayflies hatch early afternoon through to the evening, with trout feeling less threatened picking off the nymphs before they emerge. When you see a few adults on the water and the odd rolling fish, try using a floating line with long leader, cast out, let it sink a bit, and then strip in super slowly. They are also super effective when twitched close to the bottom, or cast to the outer rings caused by rising fish.
Elk Hair Caddis
Nothing can get an angler's heart racing faster than a dry fly taken off the surface. Come late June the sedge / caddis start coming off and trout simply lose their collective minds.
This by no means is the complete collection. To have a proper stillwater arsenal you'll definitely need a broad selection of chironomids, and should probably add these to the box:
If you've never heard of this fly you can stop laughing now. We're serious, the booby fly can be super effective when you've tried everything else. It would have made the top 10 but we had to draw the line somewhere. It is typically used on a full sink line in deep water, and stripped up quickly. Many times a fish will smash it close to the surface.
Hares Ear Nymph
Similar in function to the PTN, they are designed to representing mayfly nymphs, but also work to represent most other nymphs.
A super popular caddis pattern that works very well when caddis are migrating - especially during a hatch.
Deer Hair Gomphus Nymph
Every lake in BC has dragonflies in one form on another - gomphus (short and squwat) or darner (long). They live in the reeds and near lake bottoms, propelling themselves by shooting water out the back end. They are typically fished with a longer leader on a heavy sinking line.
Representing the darner strain of dragonfly nymphs, they are fished in the same manner as the gomphus.
Ruby Eye Leech
It's the little red bead that does it. Just enough to drive trout crazy.
A BC classic, this is designed to represent a hatching caddis fly. However, when mayflies are hatching, trout tend to get a bit less picky about what they see on the surface. When this is the case, trimming back a Tom Thumb is an excellent alternative to an actual mayfly imitation.
Let us know what your "GO-TO" fly patters are!