From the President’s Desk
Did our appeal for new faces on the board of directors work? Well, we have welcomed Dwynne Patrick and Ed Wallace to the fold. They're both long-time members, so we don’t have to get their feet wet, they’re already soaking.
We’ve got another appeal or two to put to you. We’re looking for help with our books and our insurance.
Because FOGR has charitable status we’ve always tried to be squeaky clean about our financial records. With the fine help of Rob Lamka and Ernst & Young, our financial statements have been exemplary. Due to cost factors and other changes, we need to move on.
Information from the charities people in Ottawa suggest that we have to produce financial statements, but we don’t have to have them prepared by a fully fledged firm of auditors.
Ernst & Young have been great, but they're involved with bigger fish than us, and they are compelled to price themselves out of our market.
If any of our members have any ideas, we’d be pleased to hear them.
And on the insurance front. We were able to get insurance for member liability and director liability for 2003-2004. But it was a struggle.
If there are any folks in the insurance industry out there with some ideas, we’d love to hear from you.
See page 2 of the newsletter for more details on our insurance problems.
To change the subject…the Belwood Lake Tailwater Fishery Management Plan is on its way. A draft “matrix” has been circulated and will be tidied up over the summer, ready for presentation to the public in the early fall.
The matrix is like a large spreadsheet that lists the issues to be addressed, a long-range strategic plan for dealing with them, and how we can get to grips with that issue on a project-by-project basis.
This really is a partnership working. MNR and GRCA are front-runners, of course. But Friends of the Grand is right in there. And we also have at the table the Izaak Walton Fly Fishing Club, a local landowner, Bob Grant, Centre Wellington Township, Belwood Lake Cottagers and others.
I’ve got to say a special about MNR. We owe them a vote of thanks for the work they’re doing for the Grand. Craig Selby, Mitch Wilson, Art Timmerman and the other are bending over backwards to work with us.
Enjoy the rest of the season, Tight Lines
Larry R. McGratton
Fathers’ Day at Wings of Paradise
Wings of Paradise on Kossuth Rd at the top end of Cambridge is home to Doug Wilson, an old friend of FOGR who has helped with badges and caps and other stuff over the years.
Doug asked us if we would help out with a Fathers’ Day promotion of the Grand’s aquatic insects, flies and fly casting. So FOGR dropped in, display and everything.
Two brunch sittings were sold out in the café, and lots of people got to see our display, bugs in an aquarium and fly tying.
President Larry and his family, Vice Pres. Ian and his clan, were joined by Secretary John and new board member Dwynne Patrick to man the booth and do some tying.
It was a blistering hot day and the crowds were out. Hourly casting sessions drew anywhere from 10 to 30 spectators, many of whom got a chance to cast their first fly.[image]
Last spring, we were notified that our insurance premiums were going up, and we more or less expected that. From $1,600 they jumped to $1,900. Then days before the due date, we were told the cost had jumped to $2,700.
We baulked and looked elsewhere. President Larry and Vice-Pres Ian worked the phones for hours and hours..
It ended up costing us about two grand, but we’re insured for another year, albeit with lesser amounts of liability insurance and greater deductible.
We’ve tried to piggyback with some other groups, but they were grandfathered, so we’re excluded for now.
To be responsible we have to have insurance to protect our membership, also the directors would be personally responsible claims against the organization. In addition, to use facilities like Belwood Lake Conservation Area, we have to have it.
We contacted our local MPP, Ted Arnott, and he took the matter up with Janet Ecker, the Minister of Finance. She has replied and suggested we contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
What we suggested is that there should be a government-supported “group” insurance for groups like ours. Otherwise the communities are going to suffer if community groups have to dissolve just because we can’t protect our members and directors with proper insurance.●
Trestle access first to receive help
Have you been to fish at the Trestle lately? Or 2nd Line and Can Roberts?
Were you surprised how easy it was to get down that last cliff at the Trestle?
With some help from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), Guelph District, in the form of a grant for the materials, and lots of grunt labour from a group of stewardship rangers, steps were cut in the embankment, a gravel base was laid, followed by steps made of old railway ties.
As well as the steps, some large rocks were dropped off at the side of the road going into the Trestle parking lot.
Some visitors had been driving off the road to avoid some potholes. In doing so they had damaged young trees planted when that lot was first opened.
The stewardship rangers are working on a MNR youth employment program. Groups of 16-year-olds work for the summer on local stewardship projects.
The Wellington County Stewardship Council is a co-sponsor of this group, along with the Waterloo Stewardship Network.
FOGR is represented on the Wellington council by John Dadds.
“The program for these young people includes education as well as hard labour,” said John. “They’ll learn a lot about the river and the watershed while they’re working on a variety of chores around here.”
Look for more improvements at some of the other more difficult accesses.·
Ospreys in residence
Next time you drive past Belwood Lake Conservation Area, keep an eye out for the ospreys.
Centre Wellington Hydro put up a pole right beside the parking lot for the little restaurant by the park gatehouse.
Two birds took up residence their in the spring and they are regulars fishing along the river now.
People ask what we’re doing — encouraging fish-stealing predators.
If we’re going to work for the environment, having top predators in our backyard is one of the best signs of health.
We’ve got ’em. Gotta love it!·
Guest seminar leader Ken Chandler
Thanks to Steve May and a lot of bit players, we managed to walk away from another Grand Opportunities in June 2003.
If you haven’t been to one, you have to give it a try.
Lesson No. 1: How to keep your spare cash in your pocket, and not in FOGR’s cash register — don’t go in the Barn
You only had to walk through the front door of the Hampton Barn at Belwood Lake Conservation Area to be accosted by Ken Collins and his scam. He had 250 little plastic film canisters.
Each one held a dry fly or a nymph or a streamer. You picked out three for $10. If you had a dry you got three tickets, a streamer got you ten tickets and so on.
You got three flies and FOGR got your money. The prize was a set of Simms waders, boots and vest, so the value was excellent. Thank to Grand River Troutfitters for that sideshow. It was completely sold out, so that was a fine song for the cash register.
On top of that we had a bucket raffle — pick your prize and put your tickets in for that one or any of the others. Thanks to Larry and others for scooping all those donations.
Sandy’s secondhand shop appeared yet again. Used tackle went at rip-roaring prices. Same plan as previous years. Leave off your old tackle — we sell it and keep a commission. Some kind folks are even saying, “Look, keep it, and keep the money.” A donation by any other name is still as sweet.
For the second year, we had an evening banquet, this time catered by Peter Eger and his superb staff from the Breadalbane Inn in Fergus. Peter was even there for the afternoon to go to a couple of seminars.
The draw for the Sage rod and reel combination was held at the start of the dinner. After flogging those tickets for months, the time drew near. And for the first time, the winner was in the crowd — Marta Rovazzi is now better equipped for fishing that her husband, Massimo. Congratulations Marta.
And thanks to Sage, Bob MacKenzie Agencies and Ontario Sage dealers for helping earn more cash contributions for conservation work on the river.
If you haven’t been out to Grand Opportunities yet, make a date for next year — first weekend of June, Belwood Lake. Be there!●
|• Sage||• Bob MacKenzie Agencies||• Pollack’s Sporting Goods|
|• Grand River Conservation Authority||• Natural Sports||• Al Hassall|
|• Rainbow Sports||• Breadalbane Inn||• Rising Trout Books|
|• Grand River Troutfitters||• The Usual Press||• Fly tying bench/The Wood Den|
|• Broderick’s||• The Cedar Net||• Ministry of Natural Resources|
|• Primrose Trout Farm||• Rainbow Ranch|
|• Grindstone Angling||• Wilson’s Sporting Goods|
Terry Ryckman tells me a lot of members are not current. Please pay your membership ASAP.
In order for Friends of the Grand River to have a meaningful say in managing objectives regarding the future of the Grand River, we need members.
Management decisions are made on widespread public support and the more members that Friends of the Grand River has, the louder our voices become in making these quality management decisions regarding the brown trout fishery. I know that we are all members of other groups, but please don’t forget about Friends of the Grand River and leave it up to someone else.
The future of the Grand depends on you. Please show us you care and renew or become a member today.
Youth/senior—$20; Single—$25; Family —$35; Corporate—$100
Cheques payable to: Friends of the Grand River, P.O. Box 271, Fergus, ON N1M 3E2
Early May, Brubacher’s Farm on Swan Creek. This time a little further upstream.
We had about 20 people out and planted about 300 trees.
Thanks to the Wellington County Stewardship Council for providing $1,000 towards the cost of the trees.
Swan Creek is one of the few tributaries to the Grand, and a coldwater stream at that. It merits the attention it’s getting.
Give it a few years, and all of these trees will start to have a real effect on water temperatures. ·
Another early May project, we had a great turnout of folks to help with this year’s fish stocking.
Special thanks to Al Newsome and his humungo-truck.
We put about 22,000 fish up and down the river.
Going by unscientific observations from the end of a fishing pole, our pessimism about possible winter kill didn’t come true.
We seem to be getting good survival of two- and three-year fish from reports of fish being caught.
Thanks for the help everyone. ·
The kiosks are up and running again. Thanks again to our sponsors and the members who help empty the kiosks.
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