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Fly Fishing in Canada

"There are two kinds of fly fishers – those who live in Canada and those who wish they did."

Fly fishing is one of the most relaxing activities you can enjoy, especially during the warm summer months. Nothing beats stillwater fishing and reveling in the view of a serene lake while you await a bite at end of your line. You can forget about all the trial and tribulations of your life and say goodbye to the often hectic pace of city living.

Almost anyone can learn to fly fish with only a few pieces of equipment. Everyone from older individuals to young children can experience the fine art of fly fishing. Learning how to make your own flies or cast properly can be a very rewarding activity your entire family can enjoy. If you are an experienced fly fisher, you can always learn more about tying advanced knots and improved fly casting techniques. This will improve your overall fly fishing experience and keep the sport challenging.

Fly fishing in Canada is a very rewarding experience that no one should miss. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer to spend the day fishing in a river during the late spring, an entire week in the summer lake fishing at an exclusive fishing lodge or spending an afternoon saltwater fishing. Canada’s plentiful freshwater and saltwater lakes, streams and rivers and breathtaking scenery present many amazing opportunities to try fly fishing for yourself. With more freshwater bays, coastal inlets and lakes than any other area worldwide, it’s no wonder Canada has become such a popular fly fishing destination.

You will find a wide range of fishing venues all across the country from very remote fly-in waters to rustic fishing lodges or popular upscale exclusive fishing resorts. You can arrange a solitary fishing trip to “get away from it all,” spend some quality time with family and friends or book a day or week-long fishing excursion with one of the many Canadian fishing tour operators.

There are many amazing fly fishing waters spanning the entire country in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, The Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and the Yukon. Trout fishing and salmon fishing are very popular Canadian pastimes. Just one bite of a freshly cooked Pacific salmon or rainbow trout and you’ll know why...

Fly Fishing Tournaments

The sport of fly fishing remains as popular as ever and many Canadian provinces host annual fly fishing championships and tournaments. For example, you can participate in the 6th Fly Fishing Canada National Fly Fishing Championships held in Grande Prairie, Alberta in September of 2008 or try your luck in the 6th Fly Fishing Canada National Fly Fishing Championships and Conservation Symposium held in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec in September 2008.

Fly Fishing Canada

Founded in 1987, this not-for-profit Canadian organization is dedicated to promoting various issues concerning the sport of fly fishing in Canada and other countries around the world. Fly Fishing Canada is present at many of the competitive national and international fly fishing championship. Fly fishers from various parts of the world and all areas of Canada gather at these catch-and-release events in order to exchange technical information and discuss environmental problems such as habitat loss, water quality and conservation. The organization is credited with introducing a mandatory inclusion of a Conservation Symposium at every international World Fly Fishing Championship. These popular fishing events attract renowned biologists, conservationists and scientists from many countries.

What Is Fly Fishing?

You may be wondering exactly what is fly fishing. Fly fishing is a traditional angling method that can be performed in freshwater or saltwater. The technique uses artificial flies that are tied out of material such as feather, hair or fur and attached to a hook. These flies are designed to simulate naturally occurring food and to tempt the abundant fish. Many of the flies are tied in specific patterns, colors and sizes to match the local aquatic insects, baitfish or prey to attract various fish species.

The rods used in fly fishing are usually quite lightweight with heavy lines that are normally coated with plastic. This combination provides the proper distribution of weight and momentum necessary for proper casting. The main difference with fly fishing lies in the casting method. Spin casting causes the weight of the lure to pull the line out of the fishing reel, whereas fly casting the weight of the line carries the fly right to the fish.

There is a great art to casting a fly properly so you always learn new tips and techniques. A certain degree of skill, patience as well as creativity is required. For example, you should pay close attention to the feel of the rod while you are casting. You should be able to feel the force in the motion of the line and rod, until you instinctively recognize the difference between a good and bad cast. Another tip to remember is that timing is the most important factor in successful fly casting, rather than strength. Don’t get frustrated if you are just learning how to fly fish. With a little practice, you will soon be fly fishing like a true pro!

Fly Fishing & Canadian Fish Species

Trout & Salmon

Fly fishing can be used to catch a wide variety of fish species from pike and carp to bass and panfish. However, the most common targets for fly fishing worldwide are trout and salmon. In Canada, fly fishing is also mainly used to catch trout and salmon in freshwater fishing and salmon for saltwater fishing.

The Canadian trout season usually lasts from the beginning of May to the middle of September. Alberta’s Bow River is one of the best places in the country to fly fish for trout. In fact, this long river has become an absolute angler’s paradise and is the most popular trout stream in the entire country. Fly fishers can enjoy endless miles of uncrowded trout water and a large population of world class wild native rainbow trout and Brown trout. This area has become one of the most popular among fly fishers worldwide.

Popular Canadian trout species include lake trout, rainbow trout, brown trout and cutthroat trout. Some of the numerous salmon species popular with Canadian fly fishers include sockeye salmon, Pacific salmon, chum salmon, pink salmon, Coho or silver salmon and Chinook or king salmon.

The angling season for Atlantic salmon starts in the middle of April and runs through until the middle of October. This is the longest fishing season for this particular species of fish worldwide. The largest worldwide Atlantic salmon run begins in approximately mid-June on the Miramichi River in New Brunswick. The Vancouver Island community of Campbell River in British Columbia has become known as the “Salmon Fishing Capital of the World” thanks to its abundance of salmon species and spectacular scenery.

Other Fish Species

Fly fishing in Canada also includes many other species of fish. These vary depending on the region of Canada. Each province and territory has their own species; there are more than 50 species of Pacific gamefish alone!

Some of the popular fly fishing species in Canada include the following:

  • Walleye
  • Perch
  • Northern Pike
  • Halibut
  • Rock Fish
  • Dolly Varden
  • Chad
  • Sturgeon
  • Arctic Char
  • Small Mouth Bass
  • Large Mouth Bass
  • Lingcod
  • Rockfish
  • Mackerel
If you crave a little more of a challenge, you should try fishing for whitefish. This fish species is more difficult to catch and can require more concentration and skill. Steelhead fish are the ocean going form of rainbow trout, and they are one of the most popular sport fish in the entire world. Fortunately, Canada has many great areas that are perfect for steelhead fishing. This particular species is the hardest fighting freshwater fish in the entire country and is aptly named. If you plan to go fly fishing for steelhead, you should be prepared to work hard for your daily catch!

History of Canadian Fly Fishing

Fishing using artificial flies is believed to have originated as early as the second century. However, Canadian fly fishing began in the early 1900s in the Maritime provinces with Atlantic salmon as the target. Although the sport has changed very little since it first began, newer fly patterns and superior equipment are continuously being designed to improve the fly fishing experience. You can now find advanced fly fishing equipment such as synthetic fly rods made of carbon fiber or graphite and cork and fly lines that come in many different sizes ranging from 0 to 16 with various profiles such as weight-forward, shooting-head and double-tapered.
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