The 2018 offering of the Fly Fishing Schools was a combined effort of the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation, the Bighill Creek Preservation Society and the Cochrane Environmental Action Committee. Two separate days were offered for our five adults and three children in their early teens. Due to the unavailability of the Visitor Centre, the Clubhouse of the Town of Cochrane was used. Each student was provided with a detailed manual covering all aspects of fly fishing.
The Fly Fishing School introduced students to fly fishing equipment (rods, reels, backing, floating and sinking fly lines, and tapered leaders) and the casting technique. The students were taught about the proper purchase of the entire fly fishing kit. Among the topics covered were: knots for tying flies to leaders, various types of hand-tied flies for local use such a surface dry flies, sinking nymph flies, and larger sinking streamer flies to represent minnows and large aquatic insects. The unusual use of spinning tackle for fly fishing was also demonstrated. A brief discussion of hooks types, sizes and use was made so that the students would know the appropriate hook size to use for the sport fish being pursued.
A clear knowledge of the aquatic insects and terrestrial insects represented by hand-tied flies represent is necessary for a fisherman to succeed. Identification of our Alberta native and introduced sport fishes is also key and was demonstrated with colour prints. The importance of the Fishing Regulations of the Province of Alberta was cited to be sure that appropriate fish and catch limits were observed.
The afternoon session shifted to the Mitford Ponds in Cochrane where, with the proper Alberta Fishing licence, one can fish for rainbow and brown trout using a variety of flies provided in the course. Funding for the introduction of fish into Mitford Ponds was provided to the Town of Cochrane by the Alberta Conservation Association.
The funds for all equipment used in the Fly Fishing Schools was provided by the Alberta Conservation Association to the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation.
The Instructors were Ken Stevenson and Laurel Pettigrew on the first day, and Ken Stevenson and Ed Fedosoff on the second day. All three have been associated with the Fly Fishing Schools at the Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park/Foundation since its initiation about four years ago. Ken and Ed are currently also on the Board of the Bighill Creek Preservation Society.