TEAM FBC MEMBER INTERVIEWS.
EPISODE 7, PATRICK BYRNE
You’ve seen him on the rivers, you’ve seen him on our socials. Now here he is to answer all of your burning flyfishing questions, in our seventh member interview of the season. Introducing #TeamFBC21 member, Patrick Byrne.
A true Fernie local, Patrick was born and raised in the Elk Valley, with Mt.Fernie in his backyard, and the Elk River in his frontyard – so it should come as no surprise that he’s stuck around, fishing and skiing his way through the epic Fernie backcountry he’s lucky to have always called home.
An electrician by day, and a flyfisherman by night, there’s nothing Patrick loves more than getting together with his buddies to cast a few lines, start a few campfires, and enjoy a few beers.
Read on, for a catch up with Patrick about all things flyfishing, but be warned – you may just want to invest your life savings in a rod and pair of waders by the end of this one. As per usual, best enjoyed with a cold one in hand (a Contour Cherry Ale, if you want to do it like Patrick does)…
FBC: So we know you’re big into flyfishing. How did you first get into this sport?
Patrick: My ex’s dad was super into fishing, so my girlfriend at the time bought me a fly rod. I was laid off at the time, so I literally spent an entire summer fishing. I just got really good at it, and I haven’t stopped since!
FBC: Now that, is a true love story. Would you say fishing is your favourite way to adventure in the mountains, or do you have any other outdoor passions?
Patrick: In the summer, fishing is my passion. But in winter, it’s definitely skiing. I don’t go in the mountains too often for fishing in the winter, unless it’s for the occasional ice fish. This said, you can fish the Bow River all year round, but it’s a high pressured river, so lots of casting. I’d say if you are going to be a fly fisherman on the Bow River, you’ve got to do at least 500 casts to catch a fish. Especially in places where people are going there are the time. It’s like ice fishing, but fly fishing version. I’ve thought about getting more into ice fishing though, because winters can be a little bit boring, but I just find with fly fishing, you’re more in tune when you catch a fish. When you’re reeling it in, it’s not the same as it being on a spin rod, because you can have more control. The rod fights the fish quite a bit differently, and it’s more touchy, less boring. There’s more to do – you gotta cast out, you get tangled up, it’s in the trees, haha…
FBC: In the summer, do you usually head way into the backcountry to fish, or do you also fish a lot in the frontcountry?
Patrick: If I’m with the right people, who are well experience fishermen and know how to cast, then we’ll head into the backcountry because it’s more of a challenge. The fish there will bite, because they don’t get hit with high pressure people. But you definitely have to go really far back there, way into the places you don’t have service. Last year, I did a solo backcountry trip for three nights. I went to explore a new river, and it was a little scary – it’s super dense forest back there, and I was in bear country, not knowing if there could possibly be a bear nearby. But I like the adventure of it, and I like being a survivor, not having to depend on anyone. I like knowing I’m capable of handling anything that can be thrown at me. So I’ll be doing another similar trip this spring, or at the end of summer.
FBC: Speaking of summer, how was your last season? And are there any other exciting adventures, or trips you have planned?
Patrick: Last summer was pretty good. I got to explore a couple new rivers, but COVID prevented me from getting out with some people, and others didn’t come down to BC because the rivers were a bit too high pressured. We also had a really hot summer, so some of the rivers were actually closed at certain points because the water temperature was so high. As for this summer, now that the borders are open, I’m thinking of actually maybe going down into Montana for a fishing trip. Heading down to the Glacier parks, and seeing if we can go after some Lake Trout, or Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. Those are two species I have yet to get my hands on!
FBC: Well best of luck down there! Any advice for all the flyfishers that want to take up the sport?
Patrick: The best way to chase fish is to not procrastinate and keep doing it. It’s definitely not just luck, but skill based for sure. In certain places, you’ve got to be able to cast a certain distance. And if you’re nymphing, which I do a lot, you’ve got to make sure that drift is perfect. The drift is all about how your line is presented on the water, and it doesn’t get carried away by the current – so when it goes down, you can set your hook, and it doesn’t rip out of their mouth or they spit it out too quickly.
FBC: Just like with everything, it’s all about practice. Before you take off, we have one last question for you. What are some words you live by?
Patrick: Don’t stress the small things. Just think about fishing when you’re out there fishing. Just relax. Fishing is all about patience, so you can’t be getting mad if you’re not catching fish. You just have to keep casting.
Whether you’re talking about fishing, or life, that advice rings true. A big shout out to Patrick, for letting us peek into his passion for fishing this last year! To keep up with Patrick, and his wilderness adventures, check out his Instagram page @soloflyfishing.