News of the HAFFT

Welcome to February- here is the program for this month at the HAFFT:

February 13, “Brook Trout Fishing in Newfoundland” Ken and Sue Robins will be talking about their adventures chasing the elusive mud trout of Newfoundland. This is just in time for Valentines Day, so bring your partner/wife/husband/co-vivant.

February 27, “Winter Steelheading with a two-hand rod” Rick Whorwood. Rick will be talking about fishing with the big rod and then tying a tube fly. As many of you know Rick is a real two handed guru and an amazing fly tyer.

Big news for Bill Spicer this week- the OLN network has picked up the fishing show he works on and it will start being broadcast this Saturday at 9:30 am and then again at 11:30 am.

TU is sponsoring a dinner February 28 , 6:30 pm at the Oakville Club to support conservation in the Hamilton and Halton area. Contact for more information.

The tying meeting in January was with Sheldon Seale. Sheldon talked about flies for bass and showed off a number of great patterns including his favourite, the Lake Erie Perch. Here is a link to the patterns Sheldon tied. Remember that almost all of the old patterns tied at the club can be found in the Fly Index.

We are looking for people to help out at the Spring Fishing Show which is coming up in February to demonstrate casting and help kids tie flies in the OFAH Get Outdoors area. You can contact Keith Beecroft [] if you are willing to help- we always have sent lots of volunteers and they are always appreciated by the good folks at the OFAH.

Thanks to Paul Beck and Rick Crawford for wowing the crowd (43 people on January 9) on pike and bass fishing respectively. We hope everyone picked up at least few pointers on the those most cooperative species of fish.

The people who brought us the Grand River Fisheries Management Plan are having a dinner to talk about the Plan and conservation. Rick Kustich is the guest speaker. Here is a link to the announcement.

As is our tradition at the HAFFT, the last talk before Christmas was about conservation work. We were really fortunate to have both Warren Yerex, Supervisor of Aquatic Resources at the GRCA, and Steve May, Grand River Fisheries Management Plan Coordinator, speaking to us this Monday night at 7:30 PM at our new meeting place. Steve and Warren updated us on the fisheries management of the Grand River and Steve provided us with a lot of really useful information for fishing the Upper Grand.

We also had all of the HAFFT signature gear out for sizes and ordering. We ordered enough to get the bulk discount on printing so the prices will be exactly what was written on the forms. We hope to have the gear back to club members for the first meeting in January (the 9th) or the second meeting on January 23. Remember that we need cash or cheques for the gear when you come to pick it up.

Our first meeting at the Association Hall was with World Champion Fly Tyer Joe Penich. We had a great evening with Joe who was, as always, full of new tricks and innovative patterns. We have a great new spot- many of the members were surprised to find that this new location was a lot more posh than anyplace we have met before.

On Nov. 28, 2005 we were fortunate to have Roy De Giusti speak about Hatches of the Upper Credit. Roy is an artist and contributor to the Ontario Out of Doors magazine as well as a long time fly fisherman.

Remember that the HAFFT have a new place to meet- the Hamilton Police Association Banquet Center on 555 Upper Wellington St.

The new hall is a bit hard to find since the sign is dark and the road is dark. Just remember that it is basically on the southeast corner of Queensdale and Upper Wellington and you will be all right.

The club outing this fall to Cold Springs was a real success particularly given the weather on October 23. Everyone got fish and the weather, though it threatened to get bad, never amounted to more than a few showers. Many thanks to Rick Crawford for setting this up.

The first meeting of the year was just great. Bill Spicer came to give a talk on nymphing- just in time for the fall steelhead runs. Thanks Bill for the great talk and the contributions to the library.

This summer the club taught fly tying for the kids at the Dunville Fishing Derby. Ron Marini provides us with this great report.

True to tradition our club was represented at the Dunnville Kids’ Fishing Derby held on the Grand River on Saturday, July 9, 2005. Despite news earlier in the year that the event was cancelled, you notified us in the late spring that the event was back on and we were invited to teach kids how to tie flies. Although many members advised that they couldn’t attend due to work commitments or vacations, Henri Lemieux, Robin Bennett and myself were there on behalf of the club.

Unlike previous years where we saw sustained activity as soon as the vices were affixed to the picnic table, this year action was sporadic from 7:45 am until about 11. And then the proverbial flood gates opened with kids lining up for their chance at the vice. The three of us didn’t have a single minute of rest until the last child left the picnic table at 1:30. Then it was off to the restaurant for a richly deserved cholesterol-laden lunch.

The kids were a pleasure to work with and they sure gave us a chuckle with the “oohs” and “ahhs” as a brightly-coloured hackle was wound around a hook shank. If there was a downside, it is when kids are left-handed and we have to reverse techniques to accommodate them. Believe it or not I got three left-handed kids in a row!

Robin is a patient instructor while Henri’s kids, as one would expect, turned out perfect woolly buggers under his watchful eye. And the Dunnville newspaper was there taking pictures and getting names, meaning the event has real community significance so it was so nice to be able to lend a hand.

We all agreed that it was a fun, rewarding and tiring day.

Bravo to Ron, Henri and Robin.

The last club event for the HAFFT was the Mooneye Night on June 13 from 6 PM until dark. Here is a report from Becker-Knott award winner, Ron Marini:

“Report on Mooneye Madness for June 13, 2005

Bruce, believe it or not after the tremendous downpour which pummelled downtown Hamilton around 3:30 on Monday, we still managed to get in a very decent evening of fishing for mooneyes.

We arrived around 6:30 and our cheerleader was there to inspire and advise, although he declined to venture forth into the water. I’m talking about the presence of Harold Becker. In fact, he opined that with the stain of the river, a size 16 black soft hackle would do the trick. More about that later.

All told, I counted about 11 hardy souls from the club gracing the breadth of the river. Even Ian, our youngest member from Caledonia made it out.

The mooneye were rising by the time we finished gearing up and having our social chats. Occasional rises, nothing consistent. Since I am entomologically challenged, what I think I saw popping out of the surface were size 14 Light Cahills or Pale Evening Duns, you get my drift-a pale yellow mayfly with cream wings. Also we were cursed with flea-like blue winged olives that seemed to love to nestle within the hairs of my arms.

After changing a number of flies, I went with Harold’s suggestion and tied on a size 16 Peacock and Brown and promptly caught two fish. Their bite did a number on the frail peacock herl so I tied on a BWO emerger and caught a couple more over the next hour, but couldn’t buy a strike after 8:30 PM.

We got off the water at 9:15 and repaired to Hortons to argue, tell stories and lots of lies.

It was a good evening of companionship, laughs and fishing. And the best part was that it was totally unexpected as we thought the river would be a chocolate milkshake, but it was still at a fishable level and only stained.

See everyone next year. And thanks to Harold for his suggestion, it certainly made my night a fun time.

We have already had two rounds of logo redesign and modification and the favourite logos have been posted for comment once again. We will likely go with whatever folks decide and put together a few demo pieces of clothing for the first meeting in September so we can work out sizing and that sort of thing. Click here to see the logos and send in your comments.

We have awarded the Becker-Knott award for 2003-2004 to Kevin Hudson and 2004-2005 to Ron Marini. Ron and Kevin have contributed a tremendous amount of effort and expertise in teaching fly tying at the beginner table as well at many events for kids in the area. There constant good humour and enthusiasm made them great choices for the Becker-Knott award.

The last meeting of 2005 featured the presentation of the Becker-Knott awards for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. The awards went to Kevin Hudson (left) and Ron Marini (right) for their tremendous efforts for the Club. Club president Bruce Wainman is next to Kevin. The award was presented by Harold Becker standing next to Ron.

The last meeting of the year went as planned with a short talk on conservation efforts at the club and the future plans for conservation from Sandy Root and Beth Stormont. A usual the gear swap ended up with folks leaving with about as much stuff as they came with but it was different than what they arrived with.

A Memorial Service was held for Ted Knott was held on April 16th at St. Johns Anglican Church in Ancaster.

It was a both sad and uplifting to go to the memorial for Ted Knott. There was a huge turnout and a great sendoff for a remarkable man. Ted will certainly be missed by us all.

Ian Colin James, was our speaker in April and, as expected, the evening was big success full of good humour and vigorous debate. Don’t forget that the biggest bass caught on the Grand River on a Ian James fly will win you a fly line.

We taught kids fly tying at the Izaak Walton Forum in Burlington. Thanks to Henri Lemieux, Kevin Hudson, Rick Crawford and Ron Marini for holding down the fort.

George Genyk provided us with a highly entertaining talk about his many years of salmon fishing in both Labrador and Quebec. The transformation of George’s casting (for the better) and hair (for the worse) made for a lot of comments among the 40 or so members in attendance. Great job George!

In February Steve May provided us with a terrific talk last week on bass fishing on the Grand and Saugeen rivers. The meeting turned into a bit of a multimedia extravaganza because Steve had put together a couple of videos of his fishing exploits. I was happy that so many risked the ire of their partners by coming out on Valentine’s Day- I was even happier to see a few brought along their partners for the evening.

Steve May came out again to tie flies January which was a great follow-up to his bass fishing talk. Click here for a list of the flies, their pictures and detailed tying instructions.

A number of us helped out at the Spring Fishing Show. Paul Beck and Henri Lemieux and I represented the club at the Fly Tyers Showcase. I was pretty jealous when both Paul and Henri sold flies to the assembled hordes. Henri in particular was selling them hot of the vise.

Our major role at the SFS was helping at the kid’s tying area for the Ontario Get Outdoors Program. John French, Sandy Root, Beth Stormont, Kevin Hudson and Robin Bennett helped out. Thanks loads everyone who helped out! Here is a brief report from Ron Marini:

Kevin Hudson Robin Bennett and I attended the kids’ tying event on Sunday afternoon from about 1 until 5. We were kept busy throughout the afternoon. And most of the kids were involved in the Get Outdoors program where we had to sign their event report card. Personally, I found it a great afternoon of grateful kids, happy parents and a good camaraderie with the other tyers around the table. It is a rewarding way to give back to the sport which has meant so much to all of us in some way or another.

We have a great evening with Elliot Deighton on January 24, 2005. Elliot tied up a number of flies for saltwater fish which we have posted.

Our first meeting was January 10, 2005 and we had a super time. I know I say that a lot but we really did. We started with Ted Knott and Cape Cod and moved to Larry Kobetz’s and John Sally’s adventures in the south and ended with a very professional presentation by Ken Collins from Troutfitters .

We have a full slate of speakers and tyers coming up at the HAFFT so check in for our dates and topics.

Harold Becker, one of our club founders, has written a nice piece of work on the history of HAFFT conservation projects. You can access this file on the History page.

There has been a very welcome change in the regulations on the Credit River. For the Credit River and tributaries – upstream of Old Baseline Road, Town of Caledon, Regional Municipality of Peel: Rainbow trout, brook trout and brown trout catch and possession limit of zero (0). Artificial lures with a single-pointed barbless hook must be used. No live organic bait allowed. The official version of the new regulations is on the MNR website. Thanks to John French for letting us know.

Our speaker in December was Silvia D’Amelio from Trout Unlimited. She gave a great presentation complete with data and big fish illustrating her fascinating work on coaster brook trout in Lake Superior.

All the flies tied at the club in the last few years are now posted in an archive. The archive has the name of the pattern the recipe if we have it and the tyer. If you are dieing to remember how to tie the Shineabou Shiner or anything else then click here.

On a sad note Poul Jorgensen has passed on. Poul was the originator of many fly patterns and a noted professional tyer. A nice tribute to Poul can be found here at the Virtual Flyshop.

Our fly tying meeting on Monday Nov. 22 was a bit of a mess because of some miscommunication between el Presidente and Steve May. Henri Lemieux stepped in a tied some of the Thunder Creek series of flies with material he found from the beginner’s table and the group’s accumulation of belly button lint. We will feature Steve May in the New Year.

Dan Kennaley was our main speaker on Monday, November 8. Dan took us on a virtual tour of Algonquin Park and the mysterious Devil’s Lake which shows up on no topographical map. We switched gears after that and we had a short talk about fly fishing in Cuba by Jack Bramm and Filippo Invernizzi of the Avalon Fishing and Diving Center in Jardines de la Reina in Cuba. What an evening of contrasts- we went from freezing in Algonquin Park catching brook trout to the latin heat of Cuba and permit the size of a manhole cover.

We had a great turnout of members for the redd count on Spencer and Fletcher Creeks.Click on the redd counters for a more detailed report.
The 2nd tying meeting of the year occurred on Monday, October 25. Joe Penich one of the leading tyers in Canada came out and wowed the assembled multitude with his accurate and innovative tying. Pictures of Joe’s flies have now been posted.

Henri Lemieux club veteran and master tyer showed his soft hackle flies on September 27. We had a full table with Henry and two full tables of beginners for a total of almost 30 folks tying flies; this is one of the busiest fly tying meetings I have ever seen. I was really encouraged to see some of our teenage members out and tying really great flies.

The first meeting of the new club year of 2004 was a big success with about 40 folks in attendance. Bill Spicer got the crowd fired up steelheading this fall. The whole schedule until January 2005 is posted as is the tentative 2005 winter-spring schedule.

We agreed to do a fly tying clinic at the Millfest in Caledonia on July 31. We had John French, Ron Marini, Henri Lemieux and Kevin Hudson help out- it got a bit crowded in the tent even without the kids who came to tie flies. Thanks guys for helping out. I think we might have recruited a few new members and we definitely made some friends.

Here are event reports from the Dunnville Derby and the Bassmasters Trip 2004 as provided by Ron Marini.

Dunnville- We were well represented at Dunnville on Saturday, July 10. There were four members from the club-Kevin Hudson, Robin Bennett, Joe Boirier and his son Joey and me. We tied from 7:30 am until 2 PM with brief team relays to eat and the washroom. From 12 until 2 it was non-stop instruction with kids lining up for their turn at the vice. It was thrilling, but exhausting. Both Joe and I caught a few zzz’s as soon as we got home. It was hectic but rewarding

Bassmasters-The next day it was off to Paris for the Bassmasters. There were about 9 attending- the Down to Earth Team from the Conservation Authority, Brian Duxbury and his son Sebastian who works at the Franklin Club doing aquaculture work, Kevin, Joe, Robin, Rick and me. Rick did stunningly well, landing three fish all about 3 pounds. The rest of us got small stuff. By 1 the heat had driven us off the water but a good time was had.

The HAFFT was well represented at the Fun Fly fishing competition in early June at the Grand Opportunities Forum. Beth Stormont and Sandy Root from team Down 2 Earth competed as did Bruce Wainman and Ian Martin in the Scientific Tanglers. Have a look at the photo album from Grand Opportunities if you need a laugh.

The Kids Fly Fishing Evening occurred on April 26. We had a great evening that involved basic fly tying, knot tying and some indoor casting. It might have been the most successful outreach project we have ever done. We had about 30 beginners show up to learn a few things about fly fishing and I think they managed to do it. It was a great surprise to have Cable 14 show up and take a bit of video of the group. Special thanks to Ron Marini and Henri Lemieux for setting up the fly tying area, Rick Crawford to setting up the knot tying area and to all those who helped out with such vigour and good humour. Thanks also to Paul Beck for helping with the knot tying, John Sally for helping with casting, Kevin Hudson for helping with the tying area, Stan the man for helping with treats and Robin Bennett for getting the “worms in mud” for the kids.

Here is a copy of the Hamilton Spectator article about our club and fishing in the area from Thursday April 22, 2004. You can also see the article in its original format as an Adobe reader file by clicking here. If you do not have the Adobe Reader click here for the free download. Many thanks to the Hamilton Spectator for allowing us to post the article to our website and to John Kernaghan for writing the article.

There is a new article on the web pages. Elliott Deighton, who amazed us with his original foam creations in January, has written an article on fishing for bass and has given us detailed instructions on how to tie his foam flies.

The first club outing of the year for 2004 went really well given we had all types of weather known to meteorology. Some of the keaners were already out at 8:30AM when I got there and a few came right around noon when I left. All in all about 12 club members were there. The early fishers were driven in to the club house by torrential rain at about 10 AM but managed to shoot some pool and plan out the summer. Larry Cryderman captured us in all our beauty right here if you click on April 18. We had pretty good luck for the most part and many thanks to Rainbow Ranch for having us up and offering rain cheques to those who had to leave when the rain and lightning got to be too much.

Our last meeting was March 8 when a group of six speakers from the club talked about their experiences Fishing the West. Most of the speakers confined themselves to the regions around the Alberta/BC border. We learned a lot about the Bow, Livingstone, Crowsnest and Elk Rivers though Larry Kobetz dug us out of the “rut” we were in and talked about pacific salmon fishing on the Campbell River in BC. Doug Soule talked about fishing the achingly beautiful Maligne Lake as well as rivers in southwest Alberta. The speakers came equipped with slides, maps, books, and years of experience so it was an interesting night from start to finish. Thanks to our speakers, Chris Mouriopoulos, Paul Beck, Larry Kobetz, Doug Soule, and Joe Syzmanksi.

Click on this picture of the Livingstone River for some more photos from our Fishing the West evening.
We had a great meeting on the second Monday night in January 2004 with Jim Wenger. After one of the smallest meetings of the year two weeks ago because of the snow, we had a crowd of 43. Jim did not disappoint anyone, that is for sure. It looks as if there may be even more Canadians chasing stripers and bluefish in the coming year. Thanks Jim, you’re a great speaker and take a fine picture too.

Elliot Deighton is one innovative fly tyer. Elliot showed us some truly original ways to use closed-cell foam for flies and entertained us with his years of experience in fly fishing. Elliot even allowed some of us to try to tie along but there were so many original moves it was a challenge. The flies and his article on fishing for bass are posted.

Click on Jim’s picture for some more photos of the evening.
Only the brave made it out on Monday, January 26. The fifteen or so of us were treated to a very informative session with Sheldon Seale who demonstrated the many uses of Snowshoe Rabbit hair in tying. He has also written us an article and attached a picture about the use of the mighty snowshoe rabbit foot.

The club has agreed to sponsor a garbage kiosk on the Grand River and thus support Friends of the Grand River (FOGR). Have a look at the snazzy new FOGR site if you are wondering what that conservation group has been doing and is planning for the summer. You can find the announcement about the Grand Opportunities Forum at this site.

On January 12, 2004 we had a talk by Len Yust from Trout Unlimited. Len filled us in on the new chapters of TU, how they function and his plans for TU in Ontario. Thanks Len. If you are interested in TU contact Len or go to the Trout Unlimited web site.

We are still looking for the winner of the Adriano Manocchia framed artwork. If you have a green ticket with the 03539976 you win!

Paul Beck and Bruce Wainman talked about pike and musky fishing in Ontario on December 8, 2003. We had a great turn out for the last meeting of the year 2003.

The fly tying meeting in November featured Henri Lemieux tying Fan Wing Green Drake and an Isonychia Mayfly Nymph. Though I couldn’t manage the fly due to general incompetence we did have a great time. Thanks Henri! That meeting was the last fly tying meeting until January when we will have Sheldon Seale teaches us the way of the snowshoe hare.

Our first meeting in November 2003 was with Steve May guide for Grand River Troutfitters and also now the with the MNR. We all learned some great lessons about steelheading and tying flies for steelhead. Thanks Steve!

The hard work of Rick Crawford has produced our first library list. We have an absolutely great library which is too large to bring out to every meeting. If you go to the list you will notice that all the books and videos are carefully categorized. Just let Rick know what you want and he can bring it to the meeting with the other selections he normally brings out.

We had a great display of Pike Flies tied by Paul Beck on October 27, 2003. Paul tied the Pike Leech and a Yak Attack. Too few members brought out vises I would say. It is a lot more fun if everyone brings a vise and tie along. The pictures are posted in the archive of fly tying.

The second meeting of the fall of 2003 featured local master fly tier Joe Penich. Joe tied a beautiful stonefly, a marabou Spey fly and a Joe’s Niagara Streamer. Joe is part of the prostaff at Grindstone Angling. Only about half the normal group made it out since the weather was rough and the 403 was closed. Those of us who made it out learned a lot from Joe about both steelhead flies and where to fish for steelhead. I have made up a page with Joe’s flies including the tying instructions.

On July 1 (Canada Day, 2003) Henri Lemieux and John French tied woolly worms with the children at the Frank H. Sherman complex along with Mike Warrian and others of Trout Unlimited. Bill and Kathy Spicer gave casting instructions. I have posted a few pictures.

July 5 2003 at the Dunnville Fishing Derby, Kevin Hudson, Ron Marini and John French taught some of almost 700 children fishing at the derby to tie woolly worms. The participants caught 20 different species of fish and a turtle.
If you would like to make any comments on the web site or on the club, please feel free to send us an email.