Column: Revisiting The Gilly, a B.C. fly-fishing classic

Great Outdoors by James Murray

The other day I was in a local used book store and happened to pick up a copy of The Gilly – A Flyfisher’s Guide, compiled and edited by Alf Davy, and published by Frank Amato Publications.

Its pages were rather warn and looked as if it had been read many, many times.

I suppose if I had to recommend one and only one fishing book, it would have to be The Gilly, which came out in 1985 and went through 17 printings. The Gilly was co-authored by 12 of the best angling authorities in the province and focuses mostly on fishing B.C.’s Interior lakes. It is probably the best all-round sources of information there is on fishing both lakes and streams in the Interior.

Like a lot of fly-fishing books, the first few chapters focus on the basics of fly fishing – gear and the basics of fly casting – as well as where on a lake to fish and what flies to use. Rods, reels, lines, leaders and knots are all also covered in detail, as well as lake ecology and entomology, which are discussed in a straightforward manner using language that even a novice angler can understand.

Read more: Column: Preparing ingredients for an outdoor dining experience

Read more: Column: Going fishin’ in the dark

Subsequent chapters focus on specific food sources, insect life cycles, imitation fly patterns and fly pattern presentation. The book covers a good variety of imitation fly patterns that were originally designed to fish Interior lakes and streams.

Chironomid pupae pattern fishing is discussed in detail by Jim Crawford, Tim Tullis and Alf Davy in separate chapters. Mayfly fishing is covered by entomologist and fly fishing guru Brian Chan. Larger food sources such as dragonflies, caddis flies and leeches are also discussed in detail. There is even a chapter on the water boatman. Fishing freshwater shrimp as a food source for trout is covered by Doug Porter.

There are several chapters on river and stream fishing including a couple on the basics of both wet and dry fly steelhead fishing. Barry Thornton writes about taking salmon on the fly, while Tom Murray has a chapter on fishing sea-run cutthroat.

Although The Gilly has been described as a meat and potatoes sort of fly fishing book, it is also the kind of book that can be read over and over. It is an enjoyable read for its stories and an excellent resource for its technical advice. The information contained within its pages can certainly turn a so-so day on the waters into a totally successful fishing trip.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Outdoors and Recreation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hiker finds body of dead man in Blind Bay park

Salmon Arm RCMP determine cause of death not suspicious

Morning Start: Canada Has a Completely Indoor Town

Your morning start for Tuesday Sept. 29, 2020

Nine new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases since the pandemic started is now at 531 for the region

Downtown Salmon Arm cancels Halloween Treat Trail

First time in 30 years community event won’t be taking place

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Hiker stumbles upon dead man in Blind Bay park

Salmon Arm RCMP determine cause of death not suspicious

BC VOTES 2020: North Okanagan nurse running for NDP

Harwinder Sandhu, who ran for NDP in 2019 federal vote, is declared Vernon-Monashee candidate

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Canada’s population tops 38 million, even as COVID-19 pandemic slows growth

Immigration, the top population driver, decreased due to the pandemic

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Motorcycle rider identified following fatal crash in Peachland

Michael Odenbach died in a motorcycle collision on Sept. 27

Most Read