“Flice” Fishing | Ice Fishing with Flies
After a long hiatus from fishing I was fortunate to have the opportunity to get out on some BC Interior lakes over the past year.
The 2011 – 2012 season was a great experience for me as I took on the challenge of learning to fly fish. The process has lead me into a lot of re-newed fun … and a lot to learn!
With the help of some great friends I was able to get back out on the lakes hoping to learn the different stages of the open water season, the hatches that were going to be active, and a “plan” as to how to catch some fish. I enjoyed the challenge and after a very slow start I eventually began having some success catching a few trout. Casting flies, reacting to strike indicator action, and trying to have the fly “act” like the meal it was supposed to represent was a lot of fun. It was also pretty satisfying when a few great days were had. I was hooked on fly fishing.
Ice Fishing with Flies | Remaining Bait Free at Ice On ..
Following the fall open water season I knew I needed to continue the fun I was having so I had to get back out on the hard water during the winter season. In the past (many years ago) I had always fished the ice season with jigs and shrimp with reasonable success. It had been a long time, but I remembered how much I enjoyed the winter days out on the ice. The bush in general was always a peaceful place to be in the winter as long as I dressed properly, and I was excited to put together as many days as I could trying to catch some fish. The difference for me this time around was my continued interest in bait-free fishing after the open-water season I had experienced. I wanted to continue to learn how to use flies effectively, and saw no reason why I couldn’t carry on this process and try ice fishing with flies during the winter season.
Ice Fishing with Flies | How to …
My approach was to accept I may have some slow days, but I looked forward to trying to use the same principle of “re-enacting” the actions of the live fish food that lived in the BC Interior lakes. Why couldn’t this work? I needed to know.
From the onset I was happy with the results I was having, and enjoyed the thought that I was learning something that was effective. Trying to reproduce the actions of the leeches, scuds, and other aquatic life the fish were feeding on was a “hope this works” experience that turned out to be fun and rewarding. I have learned that fish are most interested in color, size, and location (depth in the water) of your fly, so the action of the fly is still a bit of an unknown as far as how critical it is. I believe the action of the fly you choose to utilize can act as an attractor as well as it can represent the “natural action” of what your fly represents. I have chosen to work my flies in a horizontal position at all times, with a “swim” action that is created by very light jigging. My jig movements are usually a 1” to 2” motion, with a 20 second break between 2 to 3 movements. I prefer to fish in 6’ to 12’ of water, working the entire water column until there is a trend identified as to where the fish appear to be swimming / feeding.
Ice Fishing with Flies | Fly Patterns …
I have tried many different fly patterns and have found that mohair leeches are very effective as they “swim” through the water. Almost every naturally occurring color has been worthy of catching fish, with black, brown, olive, maroon and combinations of all of these producing good results. I have also had reasonable success with Carey patterns of these same colors. Over the course of the hard water season I have found the need to use smaller flies in order to attract good fishing action. I have moved from flies roughly 1.25 “ in length to flies under 0.50” in length. The feeding window in each day is smaller time-wise as the season moves toward spring, and the feeding habits of the trout certainly have become much more selective. It takes a lot of patience as every fly fisherman knows, but working at making your fly look like a naturally occurring food source, then catching a beauty rainbow or brookie has been very rewarding for me.
As the season started the fish are feeding aggressively so the actual effectiveness of the flies was still suspect. As the season wore on it became clear the flies I was using were the difference between a slow day and a rewarding day on the ice. I feel I have learned some new behavior traits of trout through the winter season that I will try to apply in the spring. It’s been a great winter so far for continuing to learn and have fun on the lakes! If you enjoy fly fishing and would like to continue it through the hard water season I would encourage you to try ice fishing with flies! 😀
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