OWA 2016 Angler – New Angler Fishing Day A Great Success

Getting new anglers excited about fishing is one of my favourite things, and there’s no better way to do that than at the Ontario Women Anglers (OWA) Angler – New Angler Fishing Day. This year’s event was held July 9th at Ken Whillans Resource Management Area in Caledon. Held in partnership with Credit Valley Conservation (CVC), this event aims to bring women anglers of all experience levels together, to share knowledge, experience, passion, and many laughs.

new angler

A great group of women at the 2016 OWA Angler – New Angler Event.

Despite rain the night before, the morning was perfect and sunny when I arrived at the park. After picking up some worms, the rest of the volunteers arrived and we started setting up our registration table and the fishing gear. OWA provides all the gear for this day – rods, reels, terminal tackle, and the bait – so anglers need only to show up.

As participants began signing in, I had the chance to ask them about their fishing experience. Some were experienced anglers, others had tried fishing before, and some had never held a fishing rod. Fortunately, several OWA members (Chris, Anneliese, Leslie, Patti, and Chris – yes, there were two Chris’) attended the event as volunteer instructors, and were ready to help everyone with their questions and show them some new skills.

The participants broke into groups with the instructors and went looking for a spot around the pond to fish. There are two ponds at Ken Whillans – largely known as the bass pond or the trout pond, so there were plenty of areas to cast a line. Trails and boardwalks surround the ponds, with fishing piers and picnic tables set up at several locations for easy access to the water. The ponds are a beautiful place to spend the day, bordered by naturalized areas and abundant wildlife, and many families were there taking advantage of the summer weather.

While I stayed back at the tables waiting for a few more participants to arrive, I could hear shrieks coming from across the pond – someone had a nibble! The excitement and surprise of that first nibble never gets old. Laughter started carrying across the water and the groups I could see appeared to be having a great time.

After doing some knot-tying demonstrations and setting the last group of anglers up with their rods, I went for a walk with the camera to see how things were going. Smiles, laughter, and fish stories greeted me wherever I went. The sunfish were biting, entertaining people as always, those wonderful little scrappers. Some groups were really focused on bass, but when a sunfish was caught, everyone would get excited. Nothing will hook a new angler quite like a sunny. I watched as the instructors helped with casting and gave tips for reeling in bait. I listened to questions being asked and answered.It was wonderful.

july9_2 july9_3 july9_4 new angler july9_6 july9_7

The end of the morning came all too quick. Groups started making their way back to the tables, laughing, chatting, comparing numbers of fish caught. So many people commented on how awesome their instructor was. Raffle tickets were available, with the first prize being the 50/50 draw. The proceeds from the 50/50 went to the Kelly Shires Breast Cancer Foundation. After that, those with raffle tickets were in to win some awesome prizes from our sponsors.

It was incredible to hear the enthusiasm and desire to go fishing again. Many participants said they would try to make the OWA Fishing 101 for Women seminar coming up in Orangeville on August 6th. I hope they do make it out!

Thanks to the awesome instructors who spent their morning sharing this great pastime with others. And big thanks to Leslie-Anne Dungog for being my co-conspirator in organizing this event. She’s the detail person who makes sure we actually have everything we need the morning of the event! Thanks also goes out to Credit Valley Conservation for partnering with the Ontario Women Anglers on this event.

I hope to see everyone at Island Lake in Orangeville this coming weekend (August 6, 2016). For more information, and to register, check out the website.

For more pictures from the Angler – New Angler event, check out Ontario Women Anglers on Facebook.

fishing 101

Fishing, Farming, and Finding Time – Summer 2016

Blogging…wait…do I do that anymore? It sure doesn’t feel like it! I actually had to look up my last post to see how long it had been since I sat down down and typed out a blog post – April 28th. And now it’s August 1st. That’s quite a gap. It’s not like I’ve had nothing to say, or no fishing adventures to write about, it’s just that I have no extra hours in most of my days and there are other things that have taken priority.

The number one priority these days? The farm. Oh, our crazy little funny farm. We started with four laying hens. Now we have almost 70 birds on the farm. Some are laying hens, a few are roosters, some are young birds that we hatched out this year (we had three hatch just two days ago), a few are meat birds that will provide us food for the coming months, and then there are my two pet turkeys. Those two were completely unexpected but I have a blast with them every day.


The latest baby chicks.


My pet turkeys.

Aside from the chickens and turkeys, the old horses are hanging in there. The flies are driving them crazy this year, but I seem to have managed the paddocks slightly better this year and they still have some grass to eat.

Then there are the gardens. So many gardens, producing so much food, and requiring so much of our time. With this dry year some of the crops have been slow to mature, or just never got going. Some were attacked by pests we couldn’t keep on top of. Then others, like the tomatoes and peas, went crazy. We already have much of the produce we can’t eat blanched and in the freezer, and we’ll be canning like there’s no tomorrow when the rest of the tomatoes ripen. Our goal is to produce as much of our own food as possible, and for it to last us long into the year. The fresh food has been amazing in the homemade sauces and meat pies Darrell has been making lately.


A harvest from last week.

Because of all of this, there have been many farm projects to complete, hours of research, and countless days when we eat dinner long after dark, only to fall into bed, absolutely exhausted.

I’m going to start a blog for the farm soon, I hope, since it takes up so much of our time and efforts, and produces some entertaining stories.

But fishing…that’s the main focus of this blog, and while we haven’t gotten out as much as we would like, we’re still getting out one or two days a week and having fun.

The brook trout fishing in the spring was SPECTACULAR. It was so good that I want to save that for another post when I can find all the pictures. We caught our personal bests, had so much fun, and did it all within walking distance of home.

Much of our fishing has involved visiting local lakes and ponds for bass (and anything else that may want to bite). Having a canoe has made it a lot easier to visit some smaller bodies of water and not be stuck on shore. I never knew I would love canoeing so much, but our Holy Cow Canoe has been fantastic, even on windy days.

Grey County has no shortage of great places to go fishing – Bell’s Lake, Holstein Pond, Flesherton Pond, Wilder Lake, Robson Lake, Irish Lake, etc. The town ponds are my favourite places to go for a quick fish. We have caught some beautiful largemouth bass out of them this year, many on my favourite lures and techniques – frogs, chatterbaits, and wacky-rigged senkos. The ponds tend to be quiet, with nice scenery, and an easy place to go for a paddle.

On bass opener, there was a feeling of euphoria as we launched the canoe for the first time and headed out on an amazing sunny morning. Darrell even caught the first bass before we actually got into the canoe. We were both so happy to be fishing, and to have so many more opportunities thanks to bass being open. Of course, I have trouble with finding my ‘boat legs’ at the beginning of each season, and the canoe was no different. I shrieked a couple of times when Darrell would move around too much and make the canoe wobble. I shouldn’t have worried, the canoe is plenty stable. I was surprised with how quick this canoe could get going, and if I wanted to fish a different location, it seemed only to take a few strokes before we were there. The bass were biting the frog that day, giving me that awesome adrenaline rush of a thrilling topwater bite. I love it when bass agree to bite my favourite Scum Frog!

Some days on the water have been a real grind. Last weekend we managed to get out for a few hours and had to resort to catching pumpkinseeds. I make that sound like a bad thing, but it wasn’t – those little guys give me some of the best days on the water. One after another they would grab my jig and start swimming away. When they realized they were hooked, they started dogging it and put up a great fight. I’d get them into the boat, marvel at their colours, pop the hook out, and watch them swim away. We drifted over the school several times, catching a fish on almost every cast. I said the famous “One last cast” line several times that night.


Notice where the paddle is in relation to my head…LOL

bass grey  county holy cow canoe fishing fishing

The canoe enabled us to fish a new lake we have driven by almost weekly, often saying we wished we could fish it. It’s a smaller lake, surrounded by cottages, but the angling traffic never seems to be intense. We spent hours looking for any sign of a bass, paddling all over the lake, checking out weed beds, and recovering snagged lures. When Darrell finally got a bite, his rod bent over and he reeled in a nice…rock bass. Worked for us. We switched up and started casting for rockies.

It’s been a fun season so far. We’ve caught lots of nice bass, experienced some new water, and managed to fit fishing into the schedule of the farm. Hopefully we’ll get out on the water a bit more in the next while, and we’re both thinking it would be nice to go to some bigger water, where the fish get just a little bigger.

So there you go, an actual blog post! Maybe I’ll be able to find some more time for it these days. Maybe not. I miss writing and sharing our adventures, and I miss chatting with other anglers and outdoorsy people. But, I’m loving life and can’t complain. I just hope we can fish a little more and share it with the wonderful people who care to read these posts 🙂

Chilly Wind But Warm Smiles At Orangeville Tree Planting

This past Saturday was the annual Earth Day Tree Planting in Orangeville and once again the community came out in great numbers to get 450 trees and shrubs in the ground.

For the fourth year I was lucky to be helping Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) at this event as one of their volunteer leaders (there were four of us there as volunteer leaders). The event always seems to falls on trout opener, so this year I got up a little early and ran down the driveway to the creek to take a few casts before leaving. That early start had quite a chill in the air and had me throwing on an extra shirt before I left the house.

Once arriving at Rotary Park, it was obvious that the brilliant sunshine and clear blue sky had fooled more than a few people into thinking it was actually warm out. A cool wind raced down the line of registration tables (the Rotary Club’s Garbage Cleanup makes up the other half of the event each year), making it hard to hold onto sign-in sheets while shivering volunteers filled in their information as quickly as possible to get their hands out of the cold. Turnout was up noticeably this year and the two of us at the registration table came close to needing more papers to get everyone signed up.

Year after year I am blown away by the community involvement at the Orangeville tree planting. Other tree plantings I attend fail to attract as many volunteers and as much community support. Many of the same faces keep coming back, eager to pitch in and do their bit to make their town a healthier place. Quite a few Girl Guides and Scouts groups attended the event, and a few teenagers took advantage of a fun morning of digging in the dirt to earn some volunteer hours. It’s just as important for people to enjoy themselves at events like this, as it is for the trees to get in the ground.


About half of the amazing volunteers that showed up for the Earth Day Tree Planting.


Tree planting is a great activity for anyone!

The trees were planted behind the Best Western hotel and in the stormwater pond adjacent to the hotel. Maples, birches, spruces, dogwoods, and other native trees and shrubs now dot the areas, providing improved scenery, habitat for wildlife, water quality benefits, and improved air quality. As the trees grow they will also provide a barrier from the traffic noise on Highway 10. It’s amazing how much of a long-lasting benefit there will be thanks to a few hours of work by a great group of volunteers.

It felt like no time at all before the last tree was in the ground and the last shovels were stowed in the trailer. The Rotary Club finished off the great event by holding a BBQ for all those involved.

Volunteering provides as many benefits for the people doing the volunteering as it does for the cause they are helping out. At this time of the year there are always environment-related volunteer events like tree plantings, and more volunteers are always needed. Donate a morning of your time one weekend, help a good cause, meet great people, and leave with a smile. The 2016 Earth Day Tree Planting in Orangeville left many people with a warm smile on their face, despite the chilly start.

CVC has all sorts of volunteer events coming up in the next couple of months. Check out their Events Calendar for more information.

Spring Thinking and Dreaming

It’s mid-March and the snow is all but gone. There are clumps of white hanging on in the areas where several feet deep snowbanks towered just over one week ago, but otherwise, the land is various shades of brown and green. We went from furiously trying to seal up drafts in the chicken coop while bundled up in heavy winter clothes, to ditching our jackets while working outside. Even though it’s March in Ontario, one can’t help but think it’s spring.

Most winters I would be hoping for the cold to last a little longer, just so I could spend more time on the ice and bridge the gap until trout season opens. Not this year. There are just too many things to look forward to and I want it to be spring.


The main flock has been loving the warmer temps and nice weather.


Arrow brought his ladies up to the house a few times today. I often feel like they’re stalking me until I give in and get them some treats.

While the winter has been relatively mild, we have seen more than enough snow for my liking. Today I noticed green shoots in the front garden, a sign that even the flower’s think it’s time for spring. The singing of the birds has increased and changed in tune – they have more than food on their minds these days. Even the species composition has changed drastically in the past few days. While doing my FeederWatch this weekend I noticed that the grackles, red-winged blackbirds, and starlings had all returned, while the number of dark-eyed juncos has dropped.

Aside from the usual reasons I look  forward to spring – the nearness of trout opener and the chance to get the boat back in the water, this year I’m looking forward to all that we have planned around the homestead. At this time last year we had just closed on the house (yay – our first home!) and though we had plans, we were still just trying to settle in. This year…well, we’ve made enough plans to keep us both busy for quite some time.


The incredible dinner Darrell made to celebrate our one-year anniversary of owning this place. Apple pork with havarti mashed potatoes and an apple-mushroom gravy. It was incredible!


As I type this, I’m listening to whirring of my new Brinsea Mini Advance incubator. One year ago I was just starting out with chickens and now I’m hoping my feathered friends are about to become parents (you know, the kind that don’t have to deal with their offspring). I’ve never incubated eggs before, so this is a learning curve and despite having done my research and read the instructions, I feel like I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping things will work out. I’ve been driving Darrell crazy since last fall, hemming and hawing about possible matings and constantly changing my mind. I finally settled on doing a round of Olive Eggers for my first try. These chicks (if everything goes well and I end up with chicks) are Ameraucana x Black Copper Marans and will hopefully produce dark green eggs. The incubator only takes seven eggs – a strategic buy on my part to try and limit the number of birds I end up with, since I so often go overboard with animals – so I’ve chosen a selection from four hens and two different roosters. We shall see how it goes.


Fingers crossed for these eggs!

Although planning for chicks has been a part of our winter, planning for the garden has been a much bigger part. Our ultimate goal is to produce as much of our own food as possible. We had a good harvest out of the garden last year and learned a lot about what works for us, what doesn’t, and what changes we need to make. This year, we’ve decided to move the garden, expand it, and try many different varieties. I’ll admit, I went a little crazy with the seed order. One of the things we found last year was that we didn’t have enough time with our tomatoes or cold season crops. The tomatoes started producing too late in the year to be much use, and since we went from final frost to summer heat quite quickly, the cold weather crops never got going. To counteract this I have started a pile of seeds this winter. To be honest, I started a lot more seeds than I had realized. It was when I was transplanting them to bigger containers that I started wondering why I had planted so many.

Despite the dire warnings we read about starting seedlings without artificial light, we went ahead and just used the sunlight coming in the windows. We didn’t have the money to buy and setup a bunch of lights. I was worried about this decision at first, but the plants seem to be doing well. Maybe they’ll end up a little taller and spindlier than plants started under lights, but I think it will work just fine for us. Darrell’s been building shelves and cabinets to house all the seedlings I started, and I bought a cheap plastic greenhouse from TSC to move them into once we get a little further along. I hope all this work results in a bounty of food, but even it doesn’t work as well as we hope, I’ve really enjoyed being able to garden in the house these past few weeks.


The tomato seedlings seem to be happy these days.

The list of projects is endless – building runs for the chickens, preparing a new chicken coop for the birds I plan to keep from hatching, getting areas ready for meat birds and turkeys, more fencing, lots of gardening, and many vehicle/boat repairs. But man is this fun!

Though it may seem like time for fishing will be scarce this year, I actually think we’ll get out more than we have in the past couple of years. We now know that we have a great brookie stream across the road, we have excellent lakes close to us to throw the boat in, and we can take the canoe into all the local ponds.

Spring is a time for renewal and hope, and I can’t help but look forward to it.