Event held to improve fly-fishing access

by Mario Carr | July 16, 2015

flyfishMore than 130 fly-fishing enthusiasts gathered along the shores of the Grand River on June 6 at Bellwood Conservation Area in Fergus to attend Grand Opportunities.

The event provided free seminars and an unbelievable $10 steak barbecue dinner.

“It’s all about giving back,” said Friends of the Grand President, Larry McGratton, whose non-profit group has been playing host to the event for the past 15 years.

“We do it to show our appreciation of the fly-fishing community and to thank our members. We want everyone to just relax and enjoy it.”

Grand River guide Ian Colin James demonstrated fishing techniques while Trout Unlimited’s national biologist, Jack Imhof, showed how to collect aquatic invertebrates, and why it’s important to match the size, colour, and shape of these creatures as close as possible when selecting flies.

Becky Knifton and Larry Mellors taught the women’s fly-fishing course. Roy De Giusti, Doug Swift, and Rob Cesta also spoke.

Money raised from selling tickets on a $1,500 Sage fly rod and reel and Rio line raffle package, a used-equipment swap table, and memberships will pay for stairs at Grand River access points, as well as liability insurance, restoration, and fish stocking.

Amazingly, raffle winner Sam Roberts gave back his prize. The rod package will be raffled again at the next fundraising event called The Grand River Spey Clave to be held at the Brant Conservation Area, Oct. 3 and 4 in Brantford.

“In total, the rod should make us about $7,000,” said McGratton.

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