Posts Tagged ‘brian chan


Brushed Leech Pattern: Dubbed & Brushed Out

I started tying this leech pattern back in 2008 after seeing renowned B.C. stillwater angler Brian Chan demonstrating the pattern. I highlighted the pattern in 2008 and then again in 2009 on SwittersB.

I have started tying up more of the pattern for next year. I was down to less than a dozen of the flies. They are a good pattern for lakes and rivers, fished like a streamer pattern. A dubbing brush of longer synthetic fibers can be spun and dubbed, then wrapped around the shank and brushed backward. Also, strands of the dubbing fibers can be tied in, starting at the bend and additional clumps tied in progressing up the shank toward the eye of the hook. Each clump of strands tied in is brushed back over the previous clump of strands…smaller amounts at the rear and larger clumps toward the front.

Brush Leech Collage


Fly Fishing: The Belly Up Scramble!

North American Trout (Apache Trout)

I must first say, I am not pontificating/advocating from some position (fragile, pourous, phoney) of C & R rightousness. I am offering a reminder on a few levels for the stillwater fly fisher (and for rivers as well I spose)…. do not over play your fish; do not use gear that is to weak to do the job. 

I have had my share of big fish hooked and played too long. I have used 3-4 wt. rods while fishing for 5#+ fish. I have gone with fragile tippets and small hooks. I have fished in oxygen depleted waters for big fish. In each instance, I enjoyed the fight or semblance of an exhausted fight. I brought the fish in and netted it up onto the apron for the obligatory photo or just to measure or to extricate the fly. Such moments of self-satisfaction and reverence for the fish.

That reverence is quickly challenged after you release the fish and sit there in your euphoric stupor. Gazing out at the horizon, a smirk on your face. Then as you look down at the rod, preparing to find another love affair, you notice that dreaded site…a glint of white. The belly of a fish…your fish.

Oh no! Oh my! A humorous and serious visual commences as the fly fisher attempts to move backwards or forwards with oars toward that bobbing fish in the film. Time is critical…time you maybe should have better used up front to revive the fish before release. You move close to the fish but seem to push it away with your approach and waves.

Eventually, you will reach the fish and attempt to position it near your tube, alongside your boat or between the pontoons. All of this takes time. You grasp the fish. It is still alive. Gills flaring over so slow as you right the fish and attempt to move it back and forth to hopefully assist in infusing oxygen across those gills.

Sometimes the fish will respond and descend downward to what you hope is recovery. Sometimes you don’t and you now have a trout for the freezer. Hmmm? You didn’t plan on that did you? No ice chest. No intent of killing and keeping a trout?

So, use a rod that will have the back bone to get that fish near and allow you to hoist it near your waiting hand to extricate the fly. Try to avoid hoisting an exhausted fish or most fish for that matter toward the sky. I know, I know…you will do it but just know that fish better have lots of spunk left and not take a beating up on your apron or go crashing out of your grasp against the oars or frame of a pontoon boat.

Although it hardly seems imminent right now, given the cold Spring/early Summer so far, but recognize when the lake is oxygen depleted. The lake will become stratified with minimal oxygen at certain levels (study thermocline/stratification/Brian Chan in search swittersb box, upper right).

Get the fish in and release it with the reverence you attest to…so that it will recover. Belly up trophy trout will bring your sense of pious purity to a screeching halt….  I know from personal experiences over the years. Here is a site at North American Trout that, photographically, shows what a tangled web we weave when we land a fish onto our apron. I don’t offer this up as a critical commentary, only when the conditions (fish exhaustion, water temps, oxygen levels) are hostile to the fish and you are doing this (pictures in post re Apache Trout), be aware. The visuals are perfect.  Handling Trout On the Apron. Also, one more qualifier…the fish pic above is not of a dying fish. It is a fish about to be netted or brought to the apron. That pose is similar to what you see after you release the fish. I am not given nor have composure to capture the real thing, so I am borrowing the shot to simulate the posture. 


Fly Fishing & Stomach Pumps

Stomach Pump

Personally, I think stomach pumps should be the last thing any self respecting fly shop or on line fly fishing resource should offer to the fly fisher. Oh, the sampling can be most enlightening, but more often than not (no I don’t have any statistical data) I would imagine the device is misused and causes harm to the fish.

Stomach Pump Sampling (Brian Chan)

I mean just look at that stillwater sampling of mega chironomids, damsel fly and mayfly nymphs. How much easier now to tie on the correct size and color of an imitation. But, seriously, you want it that easy? While potentially doing harm to the fish? I will say this is one thing (the only thing probably) in which, I think Brian Chan errors. A fishery biologist, such as he, knows how to use a simple, crude device as a stomach pump and has a theoretical need to study food samples from fish and the health of a lake or river. The rest of us can study up and forgo the pump. I don’t believe I have seen a presentation by Mr. Chan in which the pump is not presented and demonstrated at least on lakes. He takes great care to use cradles to land fish and is obviously respectful of the fish. Others, I am not so sure of.   

Is there available written data on the hatches/aquatic life of the body of water you intend to fish? What patterns imitate those food sources? Where are they likely living, emerging, drifting, etc. in that lake or river? At what time of day do they provide the best food source for the fish? What months are they best available? What do other fly fishers tell you? What techniques are you seeing successfully used and where on the body of water?  

When you get to this body of water, what do you see? Are there visible hatches? Are birds feeding above the water? How are the rise forms of the fish (sub surface slashes, porpoising, sips, engulfing wallops, airborne projectiles)? What do you see on the water’s surface, nearby vegetation, on the rocks? What is possibly protruding from the fish’s mouth you are about to release.

Stomach pumps may provide that extra reassurance of what to use, but given the probable harm you will cause (if catching and releasing), forgo the pump and use your brain and power of observation more often. Unless you are Brian Chan and/or a fishery’s biologist?


Fly Tying: Chan’s Caddis Pupa

This is a variation of a Brian Chan pattern. A defining tying concept here is to the swept back wing beneath the and to the side of the pupa’s body rather than on top as most patterns do. I used an atypical combination of natural peacock and dyed orange peacock herl to wrap the abdomen section. The top wing is hen hackle. The underwing is peacock Ice Dub tied under beard style and brushed back with an old toothbrush. The head is two turns of naturally awesome peacock herl.  


Stillwater Hatches (Brian Chan)

I have occassionally highlighted the well known Brian Chan. His knowledge is apparent, but I have an added touch to this: several times I have reached out to Brian and without hesitation he has provided precise information about how certain stillwater insects act subsurface and how the trout act early in the year. He did not know me from Earl….but, he graciously helped. A true gentleman.

Here I offer up some stillwater insect info from Brian Chan’s site Rise Form Ventures . There is a very good, basic over view of stillwater insects.

I like this picture. I took it outside wth the sunlight upon a suggestion by Tim Barker (Planet Trout)


Fly Fishing: Brian Chan & Lakes’ Makeup @ ‘Ask About FF Internet Radio’

“He said that of the three types of lakes, namely, eutrophic, mesoptrophic, and oligotrophic, Eutrophic lakes are the one that are usually fished for trout.

Eutrophic lakes are shallow and usually have intermittent or no inlets or outlets, which means that they have low flushing rates. The soils and geology around it make them nutrient-rich so that they grow insects and other food sources of fish…..If you want to catch trout during spring, Chan’s advice is to be aware of spring turnovers. This is when a lake has a lot of debris in the water. “You can go down lower in elevation to catch a lake that’s already turned over or you go higher in elevation to catch a lake that hasn’t turned over,” he said.

Trout are usually found above the so-called thermocline, an invisible barrier that forms like a sheet of plastic across the lake. According to Chan, in most eutrophic lakes, productive lakes do not often have a lot of oxygen below the thermocline. Sometimes, there is not even enough oxygen to support trout in that area.”

North Texas ENews Note the links within the article did not seem to open for me. However, the info regard eutrophic lakes is interesting.

Ask About Fly Fishing Internet Radio


Booby’s Down Deep (Stillwater Pattern)

Whatever..You Just Have to OK?

Whatever..You Just Have to OK?

“The basic method of fishing the Booby is very simple. Use a fast sinking line, I find a shooting head best, no more than 500 cm (24″) of leader to the Booby and cast it out. Give the line plenty of time to sink and pull the fly down to the bottom. Even in only 2 or 3 metres of water this can take 30 seconds or more. If there is any current at all it will take longer. Once the fly has settled retrieve the fly in short, 10 to 20 cm (12″) tugs, pausing between each tug. The pause is important, the fly must be allowed to float back up, because tugging on the line pulls it down.”

Basic Booby Fly

Basic Booby Fly

A basic nymph, a moving tail and the boobs. Several different ways to affix the boobs.  

 A similar technique can be used with the Skip Morris pattern, The Predator. I have used this pattern in B.C. and it works great. Bottom line get fly down to bottom with sinking line, the fly rises and the retrieve begins. I wrote about this because I recently saw Brian Chan produce a Booby Fly from his stillwater box as an option on a B.C. lake. Some how I had only associated Booby’s with Great Britain stillwaters. There was Chan with a Booby Fly…good enough for me.  

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