2019 Trout Hatch and More

New Batch of Brook Trout For BH Creek

I have visited some of our local spawning habitats recently, and it is good to see some new trout fry that have hatched this year. Spotting another year’s hatch of small brook trout is always a good boost to an old fly fisher’s spirits and hopes for the future of our local trout fishery. One of the most reliable sources for a successful brook trout hatch is Millennium Creek, here in the Town of Cochrane. Since the restoration of the small stream in 2008, there have been spawning brook trout utilizing the small spring fed feeder for spawning, over the past 11 seasons.

A spawning channel that was built in 2010 has provided the best results for newly hatched trout since that decade. Successful incubation and hatching of trout eggs on the spawning channel has been documented every year, for the past nine years. The hatch is now something that I personally look forward to, every winter.

Above: This small brook trout fry, is one of many that hatched from trout eggs this winter. The small trout and others like it, are in excellent condition, which is always a good sign these days.

Tying The Doc Spratley Trout Fly

As is normal for my winter pass times, I have been spending a considerable amount of time on the fly tying vise. Stocking up on fly patterns for summer sales and a few for my own personal use. One pattern that I really enjoy tying is the Doc Spratley trout fly. I have fished this pattern often, over the years, and it is also a great seller at one of the stores that I supply on a nearby trout lake. That store is the Boulton Lake Trading Post, on the Lower Kananaskis Lake. The Doc Spratley is a great lake fly pattern.

Spratleys come in a variety of colors, so it is a good idea to have a number of different body colors in the selection. Some of the most popular colors are black, red, olive, green and the royal spratley body type, with a royal coachman designed body. Having a few odd colors included, provides the fly fisher with some rare options for a personal fly box selection. The key to this fly pattern is too pick the right color for the right time on the water. But this is usually a case of trial and error, when you are not sure of which color to pick.

Above: This is a display of a number of color options that I provide for the fly fishing customer. There are other colors not shown, like purple and dark cobalt blue, etc..

Other Pheasant Tail Wing Patterns

For years now, I have been tying variations of Doc Spratleys and other pheasant tail winged patterns. The pheasant tail wing is a great wing material if tied properly and other effective trout streaming wet fly patterns can be tied and fished with surprizing results. I have fished for cutthroat trout, rainbow, brown and brook trout with pheasant tail wing wet flies and this gives me confidence in saying that this wing design should be used, especially on still water wet fly patterns.


















The pheasant tail wing patterns above are  – From Top Left:

The Purple Penash; Royal Spratley (Dark Grizzly); Ruff McDuff (Spratley variation); Gold King; Pearl King; Lady Claret; Royal Spratley (Brown Hackle); Silver King

This winter I did a pretty good job of stocking my fly boxes with both Doc Spratleys and other pheasant tail wing patterns. They are good sellers at Boulton Creek Trading Post and also Highwood House on the Highwood River Junction. Give them a try on the vise or if you happen to see some Doc Spratleys in your favorite fly shop.


2019 Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Planting Program

Presently, I am working on another planting program for the 2019 season. So far things look pretty good and there will be thousands of more native willows and trees to plant on some local trout streams. This will be the sixth year of the program and our goal is to break the 70,000 native plant planted, in the next year or so.

I look forward to reporting on how the existing plant crop is doing this year. Plants from 2014 and 2015 plantings are now starting to stand out on the stream banks of Bighill, Nose and West Nose Creeks this year. The stream bank stabilization sites are really impressive, so photos of these will show great before and after comparison this summer.

About Guy Woods

I am Director of Bow Valley Habitat Development, based in the Town of Cochrane, Alberta, Canada. I love to fly fish and it is this past time that prompted me to get involved in the field of riparian and fish habitat enhancement. I have been working in this pursuit for over 40 years!
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