Game Bird Hunting & Fly Tying

Throughout the western provinces, a wide variety of hunting seasons are well underway during the month of September, and one of those hunting seasons is upland game bird. However, many fly fishermen are still on the rivers and lakes, catching a variety of trout species that are beginning to strap on the feedbag to prepare for winter. But what’s the connection between fly fishing and game bird hunting? Fly tying.

Each year during September, through to November, I try to balance both 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. However, 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 favourite, all have feathers throughout their body that match the insect colours and patterns in the areas you fish.

If you’re knowledgeable about the insects in your favourite fly fishing areas, you have a head start on your fly tying. However, if you’re not sure about insects and their colours in the areas you 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.

So don’t forget to keep your game bird feathers this season. They’re very valuable to the fly-tying fly fisherman.

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