June 14th, 2024

Fly fishing workshop angling to improve skills

By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on March 29, 2022.

Herald photo by Justin Seward Blaine Takeda learns how to tie a wooly bugger during the Oldman Chapter - Trout Unlimited Canada's introductory to fly fishing workshop at Helen Schuler Nature Centre on Saturday.

The Oldman Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada hosted its inaugural introductory fly-fishing workshop on Saturday at the Helen Schuler Nature Centre.
“Whether people have never fly fished or they’re kind of intermediate or a beginner – we’re hoping that we can send them away with maybe new skills and some knowledge that might help them get going,” said Kelly Riehl, president of the Oldman Chapter.
“But also some of the ethical aspects of fly fishing as well and just sort of catching fish. There’s a responsibility associated with it and people are getting into the sport. It’s nice to know how to properly handle fish and just make sure that this resource is available for future generations.”
Riehl wanted to remind people who are wanting to take up fly fishing that it is a pretty frustrating sport to begin with.
“Nobody ever starts off good and so for people to have somebody there to kind of offer some tips and tricks and to ease some of the frustration of learning – the growing pains there – that’s a big deal,” said Riehl.
“And just to give them some knowledge to have that they can draw on when they’re experiencing those frustrations and something that they might think, ‘Oh, I remember that guy saying something about that – maybe I’ll try that.'”
Riehl said a big thing on the percentage of the course is to understand the ecosystem and how the bugs and insects work, and how the fish feed on them and require cold water and resources.
“Some of the things that we’re doing today as people, it is harming them,” he said.
“The more people we get to care about the resource, the better chance we have of a ensuring the resource lasts for future generations.”
Fly fisherman can fish for pike, suckers, gold eye, moon eye and sturgeon in the Oldman River.
Fly fisherman can also go up into the mountain stream ecosystems, where West Slope Cutthroat Trout can be caught.
“The Oldman River is home to some of the last remaining West Slope Cutthroat Trout populations in Alberta that are pure stream,” said Riehl.
“The hybridization with rainbow trout has been an issue and so there’s only special places in the upper Oldman and other places where these populations exist.”
The upper Oldman is home to the province’s official fish, the bull trout.
“Down here and learning how to do it is a great way to participate,” said Robin McGillivray.
“I’m new to fly fishing and some actually said, ‘I know you’re looking into fly fishing and the Helen Schuler Centre is offering this course.’ And I thought, why not.”
She took an interest in fly fishing because she camps a lot and has a lot of friends that fly fish.
The hope is to host this workshop annually. Participants also learned about tie flying.
More information can be found at http://www.tucanada.org/chapters/oldman-chapter.

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