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Planning New Fly Fishing Adventures

Technology is constantly changing all around us and we can see it every day. Everything seems to be getting faster, more efficient and touchless. Whether it’s in your workplace, your vehicle, your local grocery store or even your home, we can accomplish so many things by simply clicking a button or by downloading an app to your smartphone.

New destinations can be keyed into a GPS and no matter how remote, they can be accurately followed like you’ve been there a thousand times before. Planning a trip has never been easier.

I embrace new technology, yet there’s something about following a GPS to a backcountry destination that irks me. I remember camping as a kid, sitting in my parent’s camper and scouring through my dad’s map books while the rain pelted down outside. I’d look for our current location and find which lakes were around the corner. I’d trace along logging roads as they carved their way up mountain sides. I’d make note of the lakes we’ve already been to and create a list of new locations that needed to be fished.

There’s something special about using a map to guide you to a new fly fishing destination, or to help refamiliarize yourself with a remote area that you once knew like the back of your hand- Well, at least to me anyway.

Using your finger to retrace steps and guide yourself along little black lines as you meander your way down the road less traveled. Telling yourself, “Okay, it looks like we’ll be taking our next left,” or asking yourself, “I wonder if we made a wrong turn.” Once those four tires hit the dirt road, all of this becomes part of the adventure. Every turn in the road is carefully planned and your surroundings become appreciated just a little more. Let me tell you, once you know you're on the right path deep within the unknown, the arrival is a moment of triumph and satisfaction. Almost like catching a fish on a fly you’ve tied, almost, but not really.

Our adventure planning starts the same way each time– opening up the maps, pouring a glass of bourbon, compiling hours of comprehensive research and thorough note taking. We put our trust into Backroad Mapbooks. BRMB is a Canadian company and a fantastic source for outdoor recreational maps and adventure information.

Their intricate maps cover Canada from coast to coast showcasing every river, lake, mountain range, elevation change, hiking trail, logging road, campsite and much more. They have detailed paragraphs written in their back pages on a healthy selection of lakes, rivers & streams, making it incredibly easy for a fly fishing enthusiast to create a hit list of new waters to explore.

When planning new fly fishing adventures, we always start by selecting the area/ region that we want to explore, or better yet, chase fins in. From here we can branch out into the surrounding areas quite easily. We’ll write down all of the lakes or rivers (depending on the trip) that seem attainable in our selected area and jot down the BRMB page number and the given coordinates next to the name of the water body. (For example, Roche Lake 22-F5)

The initial list is usually quite long, and for good reason, this is more of an information gathering step. The next two steps filter our selections down further and further. Next, we cross reference our list with the paragraphs written in the “Fishing Adventure” section of the Backroad Mapbooks. These small paragraphs provide excellent intel on; fish size, species, stocking reports, fishing restrictions, campsite information, accessibility, (4x4 vs 2wd, hike in only, boat launch access etc) and more. We’re able to use these details to remove specific lakes or rivers from our list that might not fit into our desired plan.

The second cut from our list involves reviewing stock reports. You may want to check your local region to see what stock reports are available to you. For residents of British Columbia, we have a fantastic stock report system provided by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC.

We will then cross reference the reports to the area we’re focused on and see what information can be attached to the remaining lakes on our hit list. The stock report itself contains valuable statistics including; report release date, fish species (Rainbow, Brooke, Kokanee etc.), different strains (Blackwater, Pennask, Fraser Valley etc.), genotype (Female, Triploids, Diploids etc.), and life stage (yearling, fingerling or catchable). You can also find the size and the last known stocked quantity. When you put all of this stock report information to use, you can really dial in on the lakes you want to target.

We should now be able to narrow our search down to at least the top 3 destinations. Some places will stand out more than others, so go with your gut feeling or perhaps a tip from your local fly shop. By completing these steps, at the very least, you’ve gained some vital information and put together a few of the puzzle pieces before heading out. You also get to spread out the fishing pressure in the areas you frequent most. Exploring new areas is fun and exciting. You never know which memories you’ll reflect back on, which future stories you’ll share, or what new traditions you’ll make. FISH ON!


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