Our Man In Canada
December 31st, 2001

Tradition and Innovation
The Beauchêne Smelt
By Sheldon Seale

A new variation developed at Lac Beauchêne

The Beauchêne Smelt is a variation of the better known McNally Smelt. It was developed by Mark Heaton of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources while we were fishing together for brook trout at La Réserve Beauchêne in Quebec. It proved effective. In fact, Mark outfished me with that pattern rather badly. However, in my defense, he is a fisheries biologist and is supposed to understand the predator/prey relationship better than I do.


    Hook: 2X or 3X long nymph, sizes 2 and 4.

    Thread: White.

    Tail: White marabou under white Polaraire with pearlescent Krystalflash on the sides.

    Rib: Silver tinsel.

    Body: Cream rabbit with some sparkle in it or similar.

    Throat: White Polaraire, to the end of the wing.

    Wing: White Polaraire under pearlescent Krystalflash under gold Kyrstalflash, topped by peacock herl.

    Sides: Grizzly saddle (1 feather on each side).

    Head: White thread, tied somewhat oversized and coated with 5 minute epoxy.

    Eyes: White 3D eyes with black pupils epoxied into place.

1. Tie in the tail in layers starting with the white marabou over which is white Polaraire. Add about 6 or 7 strands of pearlescent Kryatalflash to each side. The overall length of the tail is about equal to the hook shank. Finally, tie the ribbing in place for the next step.

2. Dub a body of cream dubbing and wind the ribbing forward. Add a long throat (reaching to the end of the tail). Keep the amount of material fairly sparse.

3. Tie in the wing in layers starting with the white Polaraire. Then add the pearlescent Krystalflash, the gold Krystalflash, and top with a few strands of peacock herl. Don't overdress the fly. The idea is to form a long, slender profile.

4. Add the grizzly saddle hackle sides to about 3/4 of the overall wing length. Tie off a fairly large head and coat with epoxy. If you are just adding the eyes, put them in place white the epoxy is still wet.

Fishing notes:

Current Issue Canadian Fly Fisher
Large fish species that feed heavily on other fishes, like large meals. Brook trout are no exception, and the brook trout in Beauchêne grow big (up to over seven pounds). They'll feed on large larva such as dragonflies and hexagenis - even on crayfish. But we weren't surprised to find them targeting smelt, as these provide a much more substantial mouthful. Smelt prefer cold water and tend to go deep if the surface layers of water warm even a little. Therefore, even in the early season, they're usually best fished deep - down 10 feet or more. A full sinking line or fast sinking shooting head system will help you get your imitation down quickly to where the brookies expect to find the naturals. Deep water close to heavy cover usually provide the most action. At Beauchêne in May our bigger fish were frequently associated with larger sunken timber, particularly deadfalls angling from steep banks. ~ Sheldon Seale

Credits: This article is from the Canadian Fly Fisher magazine. We appreciate use permission!

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