After European settlers moved into the Kamloops
[BC, Canada] area, they discovered that many of
the surrounding lakes were devoid of fish, yet
many were blessed with prolific aquatic life just
waiting for some ingenious soul to stock them with
trout. Knouff Lake was one such lake which was
stocked with nine ripe trout in May 1917 by local
residents, Len Phillips and son.
For three years the fish were left to gorge themselves
on the abundant aquatic life and when it was opened
for fishing in May, 1920, some monsters in the 15 to
20-pound range were caught. Word of the large fish
catches like those experienced at Knouff is difficult
to keep secret and Knouff Lake became the destination
of many fly fishers. The Pazooka was one of the flies
that was developed for the Knouff Lake fishery.
A. Bryan Williams in his Fish & Game in British
Columbia (1935) says that Knouff "is one of
the most beautiful of the interior lakes, and also
one of the best for fishing" (page 107). Williams
mentioned that accommodation was available at the
farmhouse located at the head of the lake and according
to Brayshaw's diary it was the Phillips' who rented
rooms in their home at the head of Knouff Lake.
What year the Pazooka was actually invented I have
not been able to determine, however, Tom Brayshaw
recorded in his diary on Saturday June 11, 1932,
that the "Phillips had fun with the 'Pazooka' but
lost a big percentage after hooking but it is very
deadly in a breeze." The next day Brayshaw says
that "Mrs. P[hillips] lost a big one (10 pounds
or more) on Pazooka."
On June 16, 1933, when he arrived at Knouff for
a weekend of fishing, Brayshaw learned that prospects
didn't look promising, as Eldris, Slee and another
"all had a blank day." For the master fly fisher,
however, things differently and he "got a four
pounder. . .from the sunk island nearest shore,
and an hour later one of 7 1/4 pounds from the same
island - both on 'Pazooka'." About fishing the
Pazooka, Brayshaw compared it to the same technique
that Colonel Carey used with the Carey Special and
At any rate we did the same thing at Knouff with the
"pazooka" and fished it the same way. Throw it out,
lay the rod down, fill a pipe, light same, half smoke
it and then wallop! You had him!"
Because the Phillips' introduced fish to the lake
and developed the fishery and with their first
recorded use of the fly, I have credited them
with the Pazooka's development. However, I have
no direct evidence to support that assumption and
others may prove me wrong.
Over the years the Pazooka somehow lost its unique
name. Patrick in an early 1960s printing of
Pacific Northwest Fly Patterns gave
two variations of a fly designed specifically for
this lake: Knouff Lake or Knouff Special. Incidentally,
earlier editions of Patrick's book didn't list the
Knouff Lake patterns. According to Steve Raymond
in Kamloops (1980), the Knouff Special
was intended to be an emerging sedge pupa imititation.
Indeed, it is highly impressionistic and, like many
flies of that nature, fishers must use their
imagination and have faith.
Credits: Text and Photo from Fly Patterns
of British Columbia by Arthur James Lingren,
Published by Frank Amato Publications. We appreciate
Hook: Number 6 or 8.
Tail: A few fibres from a golden pheasant's tippet feather.
Body: Green wool.
Rib: Orange floss.
Collar: A ring-necked pheasant rump feather.
Wing: A few fibres from a golden pheasant's
Originator: Len Phillips.
Intended Use: Wet fly for rainbow trout.
Location: Knouff Lake [Kamloops region, British Columbia, Canada].