Nick Yanchuk, longtime guide and lodge owner in the Ucluelet and Bamfield are
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The Olive Scud
HOOK: 0x long (standard wet), size 8 to 16
TAIL: Olive hackle fibers.
SHELLBACK: Clear Plastic.
RIB: Olive thread
BODY: Olive dubbing, or seal fur, and/or rabbit fur.
LEGS: Olive dubbing, or seal fur, and/or rabbit fur. Dubbing is picked out with a bodkin
ANTENNAE: Wood duck flank fibers, or olive hackle fibers
The Olive Scud is not too difficult to tie with a little practice and patience. Secure the hook in the vise and build a good thread base. Trim off about a half inch of olive hackle fibers for the tail, then tie the fibers in at the curve of the hook. Next, tie in directly above the tail a section of thread (about 6 inches) that will act as the ribbing for the fly.
Tie in above the tail, a strip of clear plastic about 1/4 inch wide, with the 'working' end of the plastic strip facing the hook point. Next tie in the body dubbing. Care should be taken to provide a tapered effect that resembles the shape of a shrimps body. Once the body is in place, pull the strip of clear plastic forward, centering the strip above the body, and tie it in near the eye of hook. Next wrap the section of thread used for ribbing forward in even wraps and tie in also near the eye.
Tie a short portion of wood duck flank fibers, or olive hackle fibers, with the tips facing forward to simulate the antennae. Then whip finish and cement the head.
FISHING THE OLIVE SCUD:
In many of the interior lakes of British Columbia, shrimp (scud) is the main diet of the trout we so often ardently target. In these lakes, the shrimp are most often found in prolific numbers, and subsequently become targeted often by feeding trout. As such, scuds and scud patterns are of equal importance to the adept fly-fisherman, especially when no hatches are apparent, as often seen in the fall months. There is occasion when trout will feed exclusively on shrimp and nothing else, owing to the importance of the scud pattern.
There are two genera of shrimp (scud) most likely to be encountered in B.C. interior lakes. Gammarus shrimp or scuds can be found in almost any unpolluted hard water lake, living close to the bottom in depths up to 60 feet, preferring however, shallower depths of up to 12 feet. They can reach lengths of up to 1 inch, and can be of many different shades (yellow, green, brown) owing to the aquatic environment to which they live. The most common shade is a medium olive. The Gammurus swims short distances, then rests in a curled position as it slowly settles downward. Primarily nocturnal, they often hide under rocks, in marl bottoms, or in the weeds.
Hyalella shrimp (scud), is similar in shape and behavior to the Gammarus, but is found in more acidic waters. They are much smaller than the Gammarus shrimp, rarely exceeding lengths of half an inch.
The most common method of fishing the scud is using a slow to medium (intermediate to #2 sink) full sink line, with a long, light pound test leader and tippet. Fish the fly close to shore, in depths of under 12 feet of water (most common). The fly should be allowed to sink close to the bottom and retrieved with slow pulls of approximately 6 to 12 inches, followed by 2-5 second pauses, simulating the swimming pattern of the shrimp.
A critical element to success of fishing scud patterns, is to match the shade of your fly to that of the corresponding shrimp. Examine the shoreline edges of the lake for shrimp, or match the bottom colour of the lake (whether weeds or marl). Size can also be a factor, although a size 12 to 14 is most common.
Predominantly, early morning and late afternoon when light levels are low, are the most productive times to fish scuds.
Fishing scuds properly takes a bit of practice and patience. The rewards, however, can be great especially when there is no other insect activity on the lake.