Our Man In Canada
October 21st, 2002

Bucktailing the Big Rainbows
East Arm Quesnel Lake
By Keith Dyer (KD)

Most of the fishermen I encounter look at a lake that is 100 miles long as a boating lake more than a flyfishing lake. I too thought this until I spent a year guiding in the Caribou Region of British Columbia on Quesnel Lake. Just to give you an idea of the size, it has three arms the West Arm is 29 miles, the East Arm is 32 miles and the North arm is 30 miles long. What most of us think is, where do I start; well this is not as bad as you think if you do some homework start with a good map of the Lake.

Ready to troll Most of these waters have accommodations or resorts and with this comes local knowledge. Call and tell them you are planning a trip in the area and want to know what gear you should bring to flyfish (gear, rods reels, lines patterns) and what fish are available. Most of the time they really want your business and for you to return, so they will be more than glad to help you every way they can. Getting to know your lake before you get there is critical to your success. It took many hours on this lake for me to consistently produce fish for the guests that I was guiding.

Having said this I got a map of the Lake and found out the this lake is fished mainly for Rainbows, Lake trout, Dolly Varden, and a fall run of Sockeye Salmon. They are not open to fish and come in the lake from the Quesnel river and go up various creeks to spawn. Being a fly fisherman this tells me the food for the fish I am targeting is eggs, rotting flesh and baitfish.

I am using a Sage 6wt XP rod with Lampson velocity reels, one wet with a type 4 uniform sink line with an 8wt SA 9ft tapered leader buffed for Bucktailing as a lot of the times the take is so violent you need some stretch. The other one SA GPX WF floating line for fishing the creek mouths with an SA 6lb Fluorocarbon Tapered Leader. With the size of the fish in this lake I feel that the drag on the reel being smooth is critical when these fish run, it is like a bonefish, they can spool you in seconds, 8 to 10 lb fish are not uncommon.

Creek Mouth Fishing

Lynx River
In this lake the Salmon are in almost every creek mouth so where there are Salmon there are eggs, this is primarily what I use. The floating line with 1 or 2 BB split shot, depending on how fast the river, about a foot up from the fly, strike indicators are an option as some times the take is light. Cast the line into the creek upstream to where the river enters the lake and just let it drift into the Lake and over the drop off. When it gets out of the current let it hang for 30 seconds or so then start a slow finger retrieve. When I feel it's time for a new creek or river I'll take my bucktail rod and run a streamer or baitfish pattern through a few times over the drop off. Many times I've picked up some big fish this way drifting it out and stripping is in 1 foot medium strips. Here are some of the egg patterns I use.

Krystal Flash Egg - This egg is made out of just Krystal Flash and a little white Hackle material by far my most productive egg pattern.

Glowbug Yarn double egg - This fly is made out of red glow bug yarn and a little red and white hackle material.

Sparkle Egg - This is just pearl Flashabou and orange Glowbug yarn.

6MM Back Dot Egg-This is just glow bug yarn in hot pink.


Quesnel Lake

I had bucktailed Salmon many times but found it hard to get my mind around that it could be effective on Rainbows or Dollies consistently, but was I wrong. What I have found to be most effective is fishing the water two to three hundred yards either side of and through the creek mouths in about 12 to 25 feet of water. I tend to troll doing 5 to 8 mph which defies all trolling logic, I was taught when growing up: slower is better. When trolling using sharp 'S' turns varies the speed and depth of the lines. Let me warn you a lot of the times these takes are extremely violent so make sure you drag is set light break offs are common to those who forget this. If you do hook the Monster Rainbow what is nice is you have huge water to chase and land you fish. Here are some of the fly patterns that I use for this.

Dusty Special - Fish one at a very fast strip or troll.

Egg Sucking Bunny Leech Black - This is a standard bunny leech with some chenille for the egg.

QL Burner - Hot orange Marabou for a tail and over-wing and Cactus Chenille for a body.

Egg Sucking Bunny Leech Hot Pink - Same as the Black but use Hot Pink Bunny with a few strands of red holographic Flashabou.

Quesnel Lake Special - This is just made of Pink Flashabou over-wing with a white marabou tail and hot pink chenille body.

Popsicle - This one is made up of mainly Marabou Body mylar, 1st wing Hot Orange Marabou mixed with pearlescent Flashabou. 2nd wing: Flame Red Marabou and the 3rd wing: Purple Marabou.

In Conclusion

I believe myself to be a solid flyfisherman who loves the still waters as well as the rivers for any species of fish, but learned this tactic at age 41. Many days on the water guiding as well as fishing opened my eyes to endless possibilities of fishing styles. I have had many wonderful days fishing this way you get to socialize a lot when trolling and still fish the rivers casting. I have had many 40 to 50 fish days doing this as well as seen some country that is truly amazing. One of the wildest things I ever witnessed happened on this lake fishing this way. We were fighting a 16 or so inch Rainbow in the shallow water when out of the deep, swimming right past us a 34 to 36 inch Rainbow came and ate the fish on the line and took off! It is truly something that will always be in my mind. If you wish to experience this lake I would have no problem recommending Elysia Resort www.elysiaresort.com for all your needs and to whom I owe many thanks.

Regional Map

About Keith:

Author Keith Kyer Hi, I'm Keith Dyer (KD in the chat room), a native of B.C. Canada for 43 years. My grandad got me into hunting and fishing when I was just eight, been at it ever since. My wife of fourteen years, Colleen, has been putting up with my passion for anything outdoors and still is very supportive. I have spent a few years as a guide in this area, head guide in fact for some of the big lodges up here, and have managed to get myself involved in one way or another with some of the great companies in fly-fishing: Bare, Scientific Anglers, Lampson, Action Optics, and Sage. I spend most of my time these days teaching casting and fly tying. (You can reach Keith at sage.2@telus.net)

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