Alberta is in the midst of the fall hunting season, and one of the hunting opportunities is upland game bird hunting. Simultaneously, Alberta still has a wide variety of fly fishing opportunities on many of the province’s rivers and streams systems for a variety of trout species. Yes, this is the time of the year the hunting and fishing seasons collide. It’s an amazing time of the year in Alberta. But what’s the connection between fly fish and game bird hunting? Fly tying.
Each year during September, through November, I try to balance both my hunting and fishing outings. There’s been years where I’ve hunted whitetails in the morning and took my boat or float tube out for an afternoon of fishing and returned to whitetail hunting for the evening. At some point during my fall hunting and fishing outings I always plan a few days of upland game bird hunting. As much as I enjoy the rewards of a successful game bird hunt and the delicious meat a variety of game birds provide, one of the hidden rewards is the bird’s precious feathers.
A variety of flies can be tied throughout the winter months using the feathers from your successful game bird hunts. Grouse, partridge, and pheasant being my favorite fly tying feathers all have feathers throughout their body that match the insects colours and patterns in the areas you fish during the fair-weather fishing season.
If you’re knowledgeable about the insects in your favorite fly fishing areas than you have a head start on your fly tying. If you’re not sure about insect and their colours in the areas you fish, or plan to fish, simply search insects or even trout species’ food source on the internet and you will find a wealth of fly tying knowledge and insect pictures to help you pick the feathers to use for the fly patterns you’re imitating.
Keeping your game bird feathers this hunting season may prove to be very valuable during the fly fishing season.
Editor’s Note: you would be amazed at the different fly patterns and variety of insects you can match with a simple pheasant tail. Fly tails, legs, shell-backs, wrapped bodies, wing cases, upright wings, etc. It is a diverse material.