Writing an outdoor column on a regular basis can be more than a little hectic at times. Last week was a classic case when there was more to do than time permitted. If you recall the weather, we had a lot of wind and rain with limited periods of calm.
On Thursday, May 30 it looked like there was a lull in the stormy weather so I decided to see what was happening at Spider Lake. As I launched my boat a lady who was walking her dog remarked, “You have the whole lake to yourself.” She was correct and during the day there were only two kayakers and as I left a couple with a canoe came on the lake.
I anchored in one of my favourite locations and proceeded to test a new fly pattern under the watchful eye of an eagle. Throughout the day I caught and released several nice trout and ended up with fresh trout for supper. Had an interesting diversion when a doe deer came down to the water’s edge, entered, swam out for a short distance, turned around, went back to shore and entered a small brushy area and did not emerge – maybe she was giving birth to a fawn.
Friday, May 31 was a hectic day. Went up to the fish and game club with Elaine’s baking for the bake sale. Talked to a volunteer who was helping her children get ready for the show. An interesting thing about the lady was that she was 102 years old – been volunteering all her life and was helping her aging children. Volunteering is a life-long career for many active people. I then rushed home to mow the lawn ahead of the rain.
Saturday, June 1 was the opening day of the CDFGPA Outdoor Show. The weather was cloudy, threatening rain and cool – not good show weather. I was with several members of the Comox Valley Fly Fishers.
We were set up in the main room of the clubhouse along with several other groups of commercial vendors and other service groups. The inclement weather outside was a factor in a steady stream of children and others visiting our booth where we gave the children Tom Thumb flies and entered their name into a free draw for a box of flies to be drawn later in the afternoon.
Attendance was down on Saturday, but in spite of the bad weather there was still a respectable showing of attendees. This year the club gave two boxes of flies in small, high-end wooden fly boxes – the lucky winner on Saturday was Elliot Wells.
Sunday, June 2 was Day Two of the outdoor show. A group of us met at 8 a.m. for the excellent pancake breakfast that the club serves. That meal allowed us to get a good start on our fly-tying duties before the crowds arrived.
As you may recall, Sunday was a glorious day and the turnout to the show was overwhelming. The crowd reflected the weather – everybody we talked to was happy and positive.
There were lineups for virtually all of the attractions as hundreds of happy people enjoyed such simple pleasures as making birds houses, face painting, children catching fish in the tank, simple casting lessons on the pond, hayrides to Wild West Boomtown, archery programs, shotgun shooting, highland dancing, folk music and much more.
The latest attendance figure I heard was in excess of 3,600. Possibly the backdrop of the Comox Glacier and the beautiful clubhouse grounds contributed to positive connections with nature for many who attended the show. During the show many special fly patterns are tied to fill the boxes – the lucky winners have a unique box of fishing flies. Danika Lacoupse was the lucky winner of the Sunday box.
This column expresses a deep and sincere “Thank You” to the volunteers that made the show such a success.
If I have concern about the show it would be about the numbers of very tired volunteers that worked throughout the show. Most of the them are grey on top and I respectfully suggest with a membership of over 2,500 we can spread the load a little thinner – there are still several major events to come. Father’s Day fishing weekend will involve hundreds of children and novice anglers.
Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.