Author Tags: Fishing
Contemporary Fly Patterns of British Columbia by Arthur Lingren.
Frank Amato Publications, Inc., 2006. ISBN 1-57188-375-4
Famous British Columbia Fly-Fishing Waters by Arthur Lingren. Frank Amato
Publications, Inc., 2002. ISBN 1-57188-226-X
Fly Patterns of British Columbia by Arthur Lingren. Frank Amato
Publications, Inc., 1996. ISBN 1-57188-068-2
Fly Patterns of Roderick Haig-Brown by Arthur Lingren. Frank Amato
Publications, Inc., 1993. ISBN 1-878175-39-4
Irresistable Waters: Fly Fishing in B. C. Throughout the Year by Arthur
Lingren. Raincoast Books, 1998. ISBN 1-55192-148-0
Kispiox River by Arthur Lingren. Frank Amato Publications, Inc., 2004. ISBN
River Journal - Thompson River by Arthur Lingren. Frank Amato Publications,
Inc., 1994. ISBN 1-878175-47-5
Steelhead River Journal - Dean by Arthur Lingren. Frank Amato Publications
Inc., 2000. ISBN 1-57188-116-6
[BCBW 2005] "Fishing"
Irresistible Waters: Fly Fishing In B.C. Throughout The Year (Raincoast $18.95)
It’s our first fly fishing trip to the Skagit River. My companion Stu and I are bushwacking off the main trails, getting the lay of the land. Come to think of it, we’re a little lost, but we can hear the river through the trees. Impaled by twigs and burrs we look more like pincushions than anglers. Finally an opening! It’s a bend in the river where a monster cedar has toppled and become stranded. Mayflies dance off the surface. This feels perfect.
Our casts drift hopefully past the beached tree, and we’re soon rewarded with back-to-back strikes from rainbows leaping and flashing wild colours. As the river burbles and late afternoon shadows climb the mountain slopes we agree this is a sublime introduction to one of southern B.C.’s most cherished stretches of water. We have since returned.
Art Lingren has been at this sort of thing for better than 30 years having fished the province’s most accessible rivers like the Skagit and Vedder, and more distant waters including the world famous Dean and Kispiox. In Irresistible Waters: Fly Fishing In B.C. Throughout The Year (Raincoast $18.95) B.C. Federation of Fly Fishers historian Lingren has written enough articles and books on fly fishing to fill a rather large fishing creel. When he speaks, fly fishers listen.
Lingren is a steelheader by nature but loves to chase B.C.’s other legendary game fish: rainbows (“the runners and jumpers”), sea going cutthroat trout, salmon, kokanee (a land locked salmon), Dolly Vardens (named after a character in a Charles Dickens’ novel) and introduced species like Browns and Brook Trout. He tells us when and where to go, and what fly patterns to consider on rivers, streams and lakes by breaking down the province’s eight fishing regions.
He is also a connoisseur of retrieving fascinating bits from B.C. fly fishing lore. It seems Britain’s Foreign Secretary Lord Aberdeen wrote the place off in the 1840’s. “He suggested giving Washington and Oregon to the Americans to avoid war. The territory was evidently not considered worth fighting for simply because the Pacific salmon would not take the fly.” Put this down to rotten advice from his royally skinked brother-in-law, Captain John Gordon.
Lingren tips his cap to previous generations of fly fishers like the first North American inspired to use a dry fly (a bug imitation that floats on the water to coax fish to the surface) in the Kootenays back in 1887. Legendary guide Bill Nation further developed techniques in the 1920’s, and our most famous fly fishing writer and conservationist Roderick Haig-Brown fished the Campbell River directly out his back door to catch the gamest of salmon, the coho. Sadly, it has become today’s most threatened species through habitat destruction, ocean warming, interceptions by commercial fleets and overfishing by recreational fishers. Stocks are on the brink of extinction requiring a full coho ban this year. Like all fishers Lingren hopes nature can recover.
There’s sage advice for urbanites about how to avoid or co-exist with bears, and how to get started with tackle and the mind-numbing array of fly patterns. An optimistic fisher to the end, he acknowledges “nothing is absolute.” Trying something different from the accepted wisdom can produce wonderful surprises, or as angler George Aston put in 1926, “Most anglers spend their lives in making rules for trout, and trout spend theirs in breaking them.”
Many of Lingren’s fishing stories are stoked by memories of fishing with his son and friends—companionship being fishing’s greatest reward. If you’ve had a hankering to fly fish, or you’re new to the province, cast your line into this primer. It will have you knee-deep in riffles in no time. 1-55192-148-0
By Mark Forsythe, a CBC radio host in Vancouver.
[BCBW WINTER 1998]