B.C. Boat and Sportsmen's Show
Green Chum and Pink Flies
Read on as Archie describes our latest flyfishing adventure and our hottest flys:

Two eagles float circling above&the perfect airfoils of their spread wings resting on a warm wind that has blown along the shore from miles below. Stories too, rest on this wind. I catch a hint of barbecued meat and imagine a family sitting clustered around a campfire a few turns of river downstream. They might be discussing how to cope with young Jamie's bedwetting or planning a surprise birthday party for grandma. Perhaps someone will choke on a bone and die scrabbling for air, knees bent in supplication atop broken boulders and wind swept sand. Maybe I am smelling the fixings for a happy, early summer wedding. It is the kind of wind that makes you believe absolutely anything is possible...it is a typical, Kitimat, mid-summer afternoon and the river is choked with salmon. The skipper and I try our best, but it is impossible to keep them off. Just now, Tracey hooked a huge dog that took off downstream in an unstoppable burst of water clearing jumps and in the time it takes him to land the monster, I land three pinks - each a clone of the other.

The eagles have now met and tumble in a collected somersault of confusion, claws locked in mock battle. I have seen young adult males do this many times in the past as they play at a mating ritual as old as the trees. They will do this again when the snows of winter first start to melt, but they will not be playing then. Several others perch atop trees that overhang the run we are fishing and each time one of us lands another fish, they scream at us&seemingly beseeching us to pull the flopping fish up onto the shore where the young birds can all eat their fill.

A few minutes earlier I had given one of the flies we were using to a young woman who watched in frustration at the skipper and I hooking fish after fish while her own line stayed slack. I had noticed a fly rod lying on a log near her side and suggested she try her luck with a fly. "Oh, that's my husband's rod. He just went to get a pair of pliers from the truck. He ties his own, but he hasn't been having much luck either." I suggested she might try convincing him to give my fly a try and smiled my way upstream. As I came abreast of him, the skipper nudged me and said, "I think she just tied your fly on her drift rod!" Both of us smiled at the unorthodox idea as we watched her cast a huge piece of pencil lead out into the middle of the stream, the fly dangling below. A few seconds later, both of us burst out laughing as she let out a war-hoop, even as a silver streak of angry chum leaped skyward and started tearing line from her reel! "Oh my god, I've got one!" Tracey walked over and gave her a hand landing her fish and digitized the moment. Several other similar moments followed in short order, and by the time her husband arrived back at the run, she had already collapsed her rod and was cleaning her limit of both chums and pinks!

In pleasant, public conversation with our friends, the skipper and I would never admit to attempting to catch either a pink or a chum. Perhaps it is because they are so plentiful. Maybe it is because they lose their silver sheen soon after they hit the river. Possibly we sneer at them because they are not considered to be particularly good eating. And yet - here we are&casting repeatedly, smiles on both our faces. We are in truth, a couple of hypocrites, and it would be impossible to deny that we were having great fun! I have no idea how many fish we landed. I know that at one point, we kept count for a while at 23 double headers in a row, neither of us making a cast without hooking a fish! We didn't start fishing until eleven in the morning and the action never ceased for more than five hours.

The flies we were using were all simple ones and I will describe how to tie a couple of them below, but the only true secret to catching either pinks or chums is to keep your flies small&no bigger than a size 6. Both these patterns work extremely well and both can be tied with a wide range of materials - many of them retrieved from your scrap box.

No tail. Silver or Mylar rib. Red or pink chenille body. Red or pink marabou wing tied very full and extending as far back to the hook bend. Finish off with a red or pink soft hackle.

Green Chum:

No tail. Flat, gold tinsel body with silver rib. Mottled white duck saddle wing extending to the hook bend. Finish off by first wrapping a few turns of fluorescent green marabou as a hackle and follow it with a couple of turns of soft green saddle hackle.

I caught just as many fish using a simple egg n'eye pattern as I did with any other. If you need a description on how to tie one of them, drop the skipper an e-mail&he ties a beauty that you would swear was a real alevin, fresh from breaking free of its' gravel birthplace. Whatever fly you do decide to try, make sure you bring an ample supply. After twenty fish or so, it is usually time to load up with new ammunition. If you see someone else fishing nearby without success, remember to make them a gift of one of your creations&think of it as a 'pay it forward' kind of thing. Whatever you do, don't admit to your friends how much fun it can be fishing for dogs and humpys. Otherwise, it might fall into fashion&and then everyone would be doing it!

Have fun, Archie. Steelheadheaven.com
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