This is the last week to buy those gifts for the anglers on your Christmas gift list.
It seems that many people, who are not well-practiced fisher persons, often want to put a new rod and reel under the tree for their favourite angler. As an angling instructor, my advice to you is don’t!
Now that I have shocked you to attention let me explain. Most seasoned anglers are very particular about their equipment and are zealous in their brand loyalty. To them a rod is not just a stick that they catch fish with, it is a tool, and at the extreme a precision instrument.
With this in mind, my suggestion is that you put a card under the tree with a gift card in it for their favourite supply shop, or a note promising to take them shopping for a rod.
The Christmas card idea can be used in other ways as well.
A prepaid voucher for lessons – fly fishing, fly tying, and fly casting – at a reputable tackle shop is a popular gift.
A different twist on the prepaid voucher is to by fishing time at the Fraser Valley trout hatchery. (Yes, I’m giving them a plug, but they have treated me and my students so well I just have to help them out.) The facility is in Abbotsford and is an amazing replication of a good habitat. Three hour of catch and release angling can be purchased for a reasonable price.
A subscription to a quality fishing magazine is a safe gift, but do check to make sure your angler doesn’t already have a subscription to the magazine you choose.
For stocking stuffer ideas, I recommend a stream thermometer, hook sharpener, leader and tippet, hand warmers, and (quality) hooks.
Now might I go one step further and challenge you expert anglers who read my column. If you don’t already put your angling skills to work in some charitable way, commit to giving an unqualified gift over the next year. If you can find it in yourself to do it, commit to taking a kid, who never gets to go, fishing next year.
Our Lower Mainland lakes are slow. For better success try a dead slow troll or retrieve during the warmest part of the day, with: Chironomid, Bloodworm, Coachman, Zulu, Wooly Bugger, Dragonfly Nymph, Damsel Nymph, Halfback, Sixpack, Micro Leach, Big Black, Doc Spratley, Pumpkinhead, or Baggy Shrimp.
The Fraser River is fair for cutthroat. For cutthroat try: Rolled Muddler, Professor, Anderson Stone, Black Stone, Zulu, American Coachman, Flesh Fly, or Chez Nymph.
The Harrison River is fair to slow for coho and cutthroat. For coho try: Eggo, Coho Blue, Christmas Tree, Olive Wooly Bugger, Bite Me, or Rolled Muddler.
The Chehalis River is fair for coho.
The Vedder River is slow for rainbow and cutthroat. For rainbow try: Kaufmann Stone, Big Black, Black Gnat, Souboo, Zulu, Renegade, Tom Thumb, Chernobyl Ant, Foam Hopper, or Irresistible.
The Thompson River is fair to good for steelhead, try: Steelhead Nightmare, Kaufmann Stone, Polar Shrimp, GP, Popsicle, Squamish Poacher, Big Black, Flat Black, or Steelhead Spratley.