Fall Reflections

Fall is a great time for me and also a good time to reflect on the past season. Our riparian planting program ” Bow Valley Riparian Recovery and Enhancement Program” was a fantastic one this year. We planted another 11,200 native plants along the banks of the three streams in the program: Nose Creek, West Nose Creek, and Bighill Creek. After a spectacular growing season, the survival rates are up on our native willow and tree crop.

It was a good year, but there is still plenty of work to be done and more riparian zones created, in the next few years. What I really enjoyed again this year, was the opportunity to inspect our plantings from previous years. Right-back until the time the BVRR&E program was first initiated, in 2014. All of the new trout habitats that we are creating is especially exciting to see. Willows are now reaching down, out and above the water, providing nice shady pockets of cover for resident stream trout.

Now, as the years progress, we can watch the willows and tree mature and further enhance the riparian zone and the trout populations. We really need to change the way we look at our local trout streams that are so close to and in major centres like Cochrane and Calgary. The smart thing to do is to change the regulations for sport angling so that the trout in flowing rivers and streams is totally catch and release only. You cannot manage a trout fishery when you allow the killing of wild trout.

Natural predators like mink, herons, merganzers, osprey and the list goes on, all need to eat and this is the only stream habitat that they have. Humans should not be the cause of stream ecosystems losing any keystone species like wild trout! We have to learn to live in a symbiotic relationship with all of the life in our nearby riparian zones, and the life beneath the surface of the water in those rivers and streams.

First Snows Always Get Me Fly Tying

The first snows of the fall always get me motivated to start my fly tying. The last days of September and early October isn’t exactly what I am used to for what is considered fly tying season, but it did happen early this year. As the heavy snow fell and the warm comforts of home triggered me to tie the first fly patterns of my normal winter fly tying program.

If I haven’t been tying for a while, I like to start with something simple, like a nymph pattern. Start slow and the speed will come with time. That is what makes a good fly tier. This fall a mayfly pattern came to mind, so that is exactly what my focus was on.

A simple Mayfly nymph, tied on a size 14 – 2X nymph hook

This similar pattern (Crisscross nymph) is tied with a clean bead head style, with a section of pheasant secondary tail feather for a wing-case. The fly is tied on a size 14-2x nymph hook. For weight, a brass or tungsten 2.8mm bead is tied in the pattern, for fast (T) or medium (B), sink rate.

My first fly was not exactly a textbook tie, but after a while, I got into the rhythm. The big thing to remember is to have all of the right materials on hand.

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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