(English) Behind the Scenes at the Odyssey

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The Odyssey, April 13, 2019 was a great success.

The new venue was ideal:

This year we were delighted to have moved to a big new facility in Bowmanville, On. The Garnet B. Rickard Recreational Complex is a spacious facility with auditorium space to handle about 400 plus a whole rink pad for our exhibitors. This was one of the most important changes for the new Odyssey. The event had been poised to grow but our former location in St. Catherine’s On. was not big enough to accommodate our increasing number of exhibitor/vendors, and the larger crowds of muskie enthusiasts that we hoped would come. 

Previous Odysseys attracted 425-450 people, but for 2019 we were hoping for a significant increase in attendees. Our challenge to increase attendance meant that we needed to put together a really strong educational program with some of Canada’s best muskie experts. 

During the fall and early winter period we promoted the speaker line-up very heavy through the Muskies Canada web site and Facebook page. Our goal was to attract new people in addition to our regular fanatics. IN the New Year we began to promote the absolutely incredible ensemble of industry leaders and bait makers that had signed up to be part of the big show. Hats off to our MCI Web Director, Pierre Masson. During the last month before the show, one-by-one we featured these incredible vendors on our Facebook page. 

On Thursday, April 11 we began the installations to set up the venue. Our electrical contractor and our draping supplier came in and set up the arena area. 

Volunteers made it work:

Friday, April 12, we welcomed our volunteers, who came from Muskies Canada chapters everywhere. Volunteers have always been the heart of the Odyssey. This show is unique in that it is not a commercial, for-profit show. All the other muskie shows throughout the US are held by private interests as moneymakers for private investors. The Odyssey is the only one that is a not-for-profit show. It is the biggest fundraiser for Canada’s muskie fishery. Everyone embraced this idea and volunteered time and effort to contribute to the success of the show. Speakers paid their own travel costs to be part of the program and contribute their expertise. 

Early on in the planning we recognized the important role that volunteers world inevitably play in making it all work. Knowing that we would need a lot of volunteers and that this would prove to be an important contributor to the success of the show, we asked Past-President, Chris Purdy to be volunteer coordinator. We decided to create a high-visibility t-shirt that identified each of our volunteers. These red shirts and the wonderful volunteers that filled them were a big hit at the Odyssey. See the note from Danna Parker, of Handlebarz. 

The industry came together:

The new Odyssey plan was very attractive to our exhibitors and vendors. We drew up a floor plan with over 50% more space than ever before as we had room for 72 booths in the arena. After a lot of personal contact working with industry and baitmakers, this space completely sold out and we began a waiting list. Many of the vendors paid with product, which we were eager to have for the silent auctions and draws to be held during the event. Everyone understood the fundraising objective and chipped in to help. Some went above and beyond what was required to bring additional donations of services or products. Some who couldn’t be there (like DK Muskie Lures), donated baits or other products to help with our fundraising. One DK bait sold on Saturday for a record $550 at auction.  

Friday morning we were ready for our vendors to come in and set up throughout the day. As they came in and discovered the new, attractive location, their spirits were high as they prepared their booths and tables for the good crowds we all hoped would come on Saturday. Load-in was smooth and effective. The buzz was very positive as industry members of our Canadian Muskie community got together and renewed friendships and business arrangements. 

One of the new things we did for this year’s Odyssey was to produce nametags for the vendors and their pro-staff teams. It took a while to identify who would be there as part of the exhibitors’ teams but we were able to turn that into over 200 name tags that featured the Muskies Canada logo and identified the person wearing it as part of the expert staff that was available on the floor, ready to welcome attendees. Everyone that wore a nametag was promoting Muskies Canada and what we are doing.  

Expert speakers drew a great audience:

Our speakers were awesome. We had so much positive response that we had more speakers than we could fit into the busy schedule. To organize the sessions, we developed themes that we thought would appeal to our existing clientele while attracting new people interested in muskies. The Women and Muskies panel was new and innovative, addressing this growing part of the muskie community. We also wanted to provide a place for the muskie fly-fishing community. They had 5 great speakers in a full-day program running concurrently with the main program. Of course, basic and advanced muskie fishing were important sessions, especially for the new audiences that are interested in how to get started (the right way with the right tools and techniques). Tech issues are always important as sonar and GPS technology changes and improves. Joslyn Leung is a popular speaker to help in this area. One of Canada’s best documentarians of the muskie experience is Bill Hamblin, author of « 120 Days », his very popular book. Finally we put together an extraordinary panel of experts showcasing the some of the best experts on Canada’s muskies. Jim Saric was brought in by Shimano Canada. Pro guides Mike Lazarus, John Anderson, Bill Barber, Rob Cowan, and Shawn Maher were hosted in a Q&A session by John Cowan, Mississauga member and sometimes co-host of Musky Hunter Television.  

Managing the crowds:

We were hoping to almost double the attendance to 800. Our first sign that it would be popular was our advance ticket sales, which soared to over 600 by midnight the day before the event. Our next sign was the line-up that started at 2.30 am on show day. We had prepared the way for line-ups by offering to let advance-ticket holders to check in beginning at 7.30 am, a full hour before the exhibit area doors opened. When we began this at 7.30 we had over 250 people ready to come in. Fortunately the facility was big enough that we could bring everyone inside in an orderly line-up. When the exhort area doors opened at 8.30 am, we had an orderly inflow of excited people to kick things off. Our red-shirted volunteers were all on hand to help make it work smoothly. Total attendance was over 1,100. 

Our biggest fundraiser:

All of this is to raise funds for Muskie research, education and conservation. The 2019 Odyssey produced a net proceeds of $18,358.02. These funds will go into a special Muskies Canada account to be used for the fishery. 

Teamwork:

The success of the 2019 Odyssey is the result of extraordinary teamwork. The Odyssey Committee included Pete Bostelmann, Bryan Mathes, Angelo DiDomizio, Chris Purdy, Jason Newell and Peter Levick. Meetings were held regularly throughout the year to work out the new plans and we were able to consult regularly with the Board of Directors. The team grew to include our growing number of volunteers so that by Odyssey day we were over 30 on the Odyssey team. Everyone was helpful and did a great job to assist with the exhibitors, attendees, media and contractors that were part of this record-breaking event.   

See you next year:

Based on the success of the 2019 Muskie Odyssey, the Board of Directors has voted to hold the Odyssey annually. 

Thank you to all that helped make the event work so well: 

Our Sponsors: 

  • Shimano
  • Ugly Pike

Our speakers: 

  • John Anderson
  • Jessie Baker
  • Bill Barber
  • Brent Bochek
  • Rob Cadeau
  • Ken Collins
  • John Cowan
  • Bill Hamblin
  • Lauren Kozak
  • Mike Lazarus
  • Joslyn Leung
  • Dan Lougheed
  • Chelsea Lynn
  • Shawn Maher
  • Megan McGregor
  • Michael McNaught
  • Jason Newell
  • Andy Pappas
  • Christopher Pfohl
  • Marlon Prince
  • Ashley Rae

Contributors:

  • DK Musky Lures
  • Baker Baits
  • Supernatural Big Baits
  • Custom Clarkey Baits
  • Headbanger Lures
  • Beaver Lures
  • Musky Boys
  • Ontario Women Anglers
  • Diamond Productions
  • OMNRF
  • Peter Levick Outdoors
  • City of Clarington
  • Trophy Hunter Charters

(English) Women and Muskie Fishing

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The Muskie Odyssey, a biennial event that attracts esox enthusiasts from all over the province, as well south of the border, had one of their best ever shows last month in Bowmanville, ON. Organized by volunteers from Muskies Canada, the Odyssey offers one-stop shopping for “everything muskie” – from retailers to guest speakers to the independent lure maker.

For a number of years now, women in fishing has been the fastest growing demographic, even more so than children, and more and more of them are stepping up to the challenge of catching the “fish of 10,000 casts”. New this year, the seminar agenda featured an all-women panel in which the speakers fielded questions from the audience and shared their muskie fishing experiences.  Megan McGregor, Jessie Baker, Lauren Kozak, Chelsea Lynn and Ashley Rae provided seminar participants with tips and expertise to help anglers have a more successful day on the water. The seminar was one of the more popular presentations of the event and these young women are evidence that we are breaking away from the old stereotype that muskie fishing is for men only. Given its success, I expect this panel will be featured at Odysseys to come.

A few years ago, I decided to add muskie to my repertoire of species fished and, after an invitation to be a guest speaker at the Kawartha Lakes Chapter, I became a member of Muskies Canada to receive an education in this new frontier. From the start, the members were not only very welcoming, but generous in answering my many questions and enthusiastic in sharing their knowledge with me. As with many Muskies Canada members I have met over the last couple of years, the message of conservation and education is paramount to everyone involved in this organization and vital to the sustainability of the fishery.

In spring 2017, I approached the KLC chapter and asked for their assistance in helping run the first ever “Introduction to Muskie Fishing for Women” event with Ontario Women Anglers, a non-profit organization I started in late 2012. The response was incredibly supportive and, through the collaboration of a small committee, we held the event in September of the same year with 10 boaters and two shifts of 20 women each. Held on Cameron Lake in Fenelon Falls, 40 women received a hands-on education on everything related to muskie fishing. The KLC members mentored the ladies on the water and instructed them on proper fish care and handling, the necessary equipment needed to manage these fish safely, the various baits, rods, reels, line and terminal tackle used in this typing of fishing as well as demonstrating both trolling and casting techniques. The women arrived armed with a myriad of questions in efforts to learn as much as they could about this new facet of fishing. As the outing was meant more to focus on education, I think we were all surprised at the number of muskie the women caught at the event.

Building on the success of our 2017 event, “Introduction to Muskie Fishing for Women” will run again on October 5, 2019 on Cameron Lake in partnership with the Kawartha Lakes Chapter. As with our last outing, a BBQ lunch will be provided and we will have another great draw table which will include a Shimano Tranx 301AHG. Registration will open in August and anyone interested in the event can get more information by contacting me at my e-mail below.

As the number of women involved in muskie fishing continues to grow, partnerships between organizations like Muskies Canada and Ontario Women Anglers become increasingly more important and it is through these combined efforts that the “Introduction to Muskie Fishing for Women” program can be brought to other chapters.

Yvonne Brown
Muskies Canada KLC and Ontario Women Anglers

(English) Conservation Lottery Results

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The final draw for the 2019 Conservation Lottery was held on May 5th at the Discover Georgina show at the Keswick Ice Palace. The reason for this location is simple, it was the Municipality of Georgina license office which granted us the lottery permits and the draw had to take place in their municipality. On hand to assist with the draw were Mr. Dan Fellini Ward 2 Councillor for Georgina, Mr. Scot Davidson MP (Conservative) for York Simcoe riding.

The winners of the early bird prizes Shimano Compre rod, Tranx 400 HG reel a300 yds. Of Power Pro were:

  • 1st early bird winner was Mark MacFarland of the Mississauga Chapter.
  • 2nd early Bird winner was Angelo Didomizio of the Kawartha Chapter.

Winner of the 15 HP Mercury ProKicker motor was a gentleman from St. Catherines, Mr. Dave Robitaille.

Winner of the 1 week stay in a deluxe 3 bedroom cottage at Scotsmen Point Resort was Mr. Dave Sullivan. Dave is the owner of City Marine the supplier of the grand prize Mercury package, and he purchased several tickets for the lottery.

Winner of the Lakewoods Monster Musky tackle box and the family of 4 custom painted Hose baits was Paul Baltovich. Paul purchased his ticket through Russell Hendrix. I am sure Russell has already tried to talk Paul out of his winnings.

Congratulations to all the winners. We also wish to thank our sponsors who generously donated or supplied items at great savings to MCI.

Dave Sullivan of City Marine for the Mercury outboard. Scotsman Point Resort for the 3 bedroom deluxe cottage 1 week stay. Bob Mahoney and Shimano Canada for the 2 early bird packages. Stacy Ash and Pro Tackle for the Lakewoods Tackle Box. Shawn (Hoser) Maher for the unique and one of a kind custom painted family of Hose Baits.

(English) Mr. David McIntaggart “Duck Boat Dave” May you Rest in Peace

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Today, it’s my sad duty to inform our community of the passing of Mr. David McIntaggart, “Duck Boat Dave”. A character you only had to meet once, then never struggle to put his name to the face. A second meeting would confirm his unwavering passion for his species of choice. A third, could include the ‘frightening prospect’ of a day on the river in the duck boat. Dave always had a story, a picture, and he never shied away from an opportunity speak or give pointers to new members.

Besides his legacy with Muskies, he provided support to many local charities. These included; the Ride for sight, local kids fishing camps and the Gananoque food bank. To this end, he donated 2 lures to be raffled off in support of the food bank.

Determined to see his extended family, with a little help from his friends, Dave held court at our last meeting. It was important for him to put us at ease. Dave let us know what a great life he had, with no regrets. He shared with us insights into his private life. Something personal, a card he had always held close to his chest. This was his deep Christian values and how it empowered him onto his next journey.

He did what he could for his community and never stopped giving.

Tuesday 12 March 2019

Viewing

  • Tomkins Funeral Home 63 Garden Street, Gananoque, time 1200 – 1400, followed by a short service

Celebration of Life

  • Followed by viewing/service; will be at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 92, 55 King street East, Gananoque

 

 

(English) Helping Habitat : Bill C-68

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I have been invited to write a regular column on conservation issues related to Muskies and their Habitat.  So my territory overlaps well with the range of Muskies in Canada.

A bit about me first, I work for Ducks Unlimited Canada as the Director of Regional Operations for Eastern Canada.  This means I oversee DUC’s conservation work east of Manitoba. So my territory overlaps well with the range of Muskies in Canada.  I have been a member of Muskies Canada for three years and am yet to catch my first Muskie.  I hope the 2018 is my year. 

I worked with Peter Levick, then president of Muskies Canada to develop a Memorandum of Understanding between Muskies and DUC in 2015.  In this MOU we committed to ongoing collaboration to expand mutual habitat conservation projects that benefit Muskellunge and Waterfowl in eastern Canada.  Given our shared focus on habitat this was the quickest MOU that I have ever developed.  You will have seen in Chris Nielson’s Presidents message, that we are seeing good examples of working together.

Implications of proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act

One of the powerful tools supporting habitat conservation at scale is Federal or Provincial legislation or policy.  These government directions can have significant impacts on habitat and uses of habitat.  The federal fisheries act is a critical act that regulates activities related to fisheries and fish habitat.  As such, it is an important tool in conservation of habitat. 

The fisheries act underwent significant modernization and change in 2012.  Some of these changes reduced the extent of fish habitats protected across Canada.  The Federal government has introduced new amendments to the act (Bill C-68) that will have a significant impact on fish and fish habitat.  Some highlights include:

Before Proposed Amendments

After Proposed Amendments

Not all fish and fish habitat protected; only those related to a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery protected

Protection of all fish and fish habitat

Uncertainty as to when authorizations are required for development projects

 

Clarity on which types of projects require authorizations through permitting and codes of practice

 

Lack of transparency regarding authorization decisions for projects; no requirement to publicly release information on these decisions

 

Requirement to publicly release information on project decisions through an online registry

No provisions to restore degraded habitat as part of development project reviews

 

Provisions to consider restoration priorities as part of development project reviews

 

No tools to quickly implement in-season fisheries restrictions to address unforeseen conservation and management issues

 

Ability to put in place targeted short-term measures to quickly and effectively respond to unforeseen threats to the management of fisheries and to the conservation of fish

 

 These proposed amendments are important to Muskies Canada for several reasons.  First, the changes strengthen the protection of habitat for muskellunge throughout their lives.  In addition, the proposed amendments will make is easier to know and understand if future development projects are going to impact muskellunge habitat and how developer will compensate for these impacts.  The amendments are more explicit on compensation for destruction of fish habitat.  Muskies Canada has the opportunity to guide compensation for loss of muskellunge habitat.

The act is currently moving thru the parliamentary process and the government is considering the proposed amendments.   MP and Federal Ministers respond to comments from members of grass roots organizations like Muskies Canada.

So it is time to Take Action.

You can have a positive influence on getting Bill C-68 adopted by sending a letter, email or talking to your MP and/or Dominic LeBlanc the Federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.  The message is simple you support the positive changes to increase the protection of fish habitat being proposed in Bill C-68.

Here is the complete Bill-C68 submission.

(English) Muskies 101

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The ability of future generations to enjoy species of fish like the muskellunge is based in part, on catch and release fishing today. The quality of the fishery depends on how carefully anglers release their fish. Over the years, a series of generally accepted handling procedures and suggestions have been developed by the catch and release community.

Match the Tackle to the Fish You’re After

  • Heavy Duty Rods, Reels, Line and Leaders
  • Why? – minimize fight time and ensure a good release.
  • Casting
    • 7 ‘to 9’(+) rods
    • Mostly bait caster style reels
    • 80lb braid
    • Wire or flourocarbon leaders – 100 lb and up
  • Trolling
    • 8’ (+) rods
    • Line Counter reels
    • 100 lb (+) braid
    • Flourocarbon leaders – minimum 100 lb

Baits

Crank Baits
Jerk and Glide Baits
Top Water

 

Plastics

Release Tools

  • Good quality large coated net (Big Kahuna) , Knipex bolt cutters (to cut hooks), long needle nose pliers, Hook out tool, jaw spreaders, gloves, measuring pole, bump board or seamstress measuring tape for getting length and girth measurements, towel
  • Other tools, split ring pliers, channel lock pliers, vice grips, scissors, hook file
  • You can tie some type of a lanyard around tools in order not to loose them

Preparing for the Catch

  • Communicate with your “net man” i.e., I will bring fish to you, net head first, hold the mesh
  • Have your net, release tools ready i.e., long nose pliers, hook cutters, gloves
  • Discuss lifting and holding techniques , practice proper release and resuscitation techniques
  • Keep your landing area ready. Keep the floor of your boat clear of clutter and keep loose hooks and lures in a tackle box, not on the floor or seat. This will help to avoid many potential accidents as well as give you plenty of room to land that trophy fish!

The Catch

  • Net the muskie head first into a large coated net
  • Keep the muskie in the net until you get the hooks removed
  • Cut hooks if required and remove cut portions from muskie
  • If you’re taking a picture, get yourself and the boat organized to minimize the time the fish is out of the water.

Vertical Holds

  • Never lift a muskie vertically by its jaw. This has the potential of causing severe injury to the fish especially if it’s a big one.
  • When lifting a muskie for a photo or any other reason, always do so horizontally using your other hand to support it under its belly. Also, never ever hold any fish by its eye sockets. This definitely causes damage to the fish.

(English) Ducks Unlimited Launches New Invasive Species Resource

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Our partner  Ducks Unlimited Canada just released a great new resource for learning about invasive species that threaten many of our favourite musky waters. to learn more, make sure to check out the link!

http://www.ducks.ca/invasive-species/

Invasive species are changing the land and water we love. They overwhelm habitat, choking out natural wildlife and vegetation. They spread aggressively and hold their ground stubbornly. Winning the fight against an invasive species takes science, engineering and people committed to on-the-ground hard work.

(English) Brewer Park Pond Restoration Project (2014 – 2016)

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The landlocked Brewer Park Pond and former artificial swimming hole have undergone a facelift, a transfusion and a rejuvenation to become a naturally-functioning habitat for all kinds of wildlife in Ottawa and importantly become, once again, a part of the Rideau River itself. Using an ecosystem approach, the partners in this project intend to increase overall biodiversity with the creation of a new, vibrant wetland and pond with shoreline plantings, breeding bird habitat, amphibian habitat, turtle nesting beds and basking logs all connected to the main channel of the nearby Rideau River. The pond will provide improved spawning, nursery, rearing and feeding habitat for the local fish community in the Rideau all year round. This area will be particularly important for Muskie spawning. The on-site work took place in November and December, 2014.

The project accomplishes two important goals for local residents:
– Rejuvenation of the pond with increased fish and wildlife habitat
– Maintenance of current park uses after construction, including complete walking trail around the pond.

We are pleased to confirm that both objectives will be achieved thanks to the goodwill and understanding of all the project partners including MINTO, Richcraft, the City of Ottawa, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Muskies Canada, the Institute of Environmental Science at Carleton University and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.

Muskies Canada Ottawa Chapter has been a partner in this project throughout the long planning approvals process over most of the last 2 decades. Hedrik Wachelka has been tireless in his work to help move this project forward. The Ottawa Chapter, with assistance from the Hugh C. Becker Foundation has partnered with Carleton University to tag and monitor 40 Esocidae (20 Pike and 20 Muskies) to follow their movements before and after the completion of this new feature.

There will be an opportunity to volunteer for a shoreline planting day May 9, 2015 around the perimeter of the pond. Capital Ward Councilor David Chernushenko said, « Residents of Capital Ward work very hard to maintain and improve our local environment, and like to seize special opportunities such as this. Tree plantings, river shore protection, clean up initiatives and promoting active outdoor life styles by our residents are all close to our hearts and this project fits us well. Thanks to all parties for bringing this progressive project to Brewer Park! »

For more information: Jennifer Lamoureux, Aquatic & Fish Habitat Biologist Rideau Valley Conservation Authority 613-692-3571 ext. 1108 jennifer.lamoureux@rvca.ca
http://rvca.ca/brewerpark/index.html

Création d’une échancrure le long de la rivière Jock (2014-2016)

En octobre 2014, la Rideau Valley Conservation Authority a construit une échancrure destinée à accroître la superficie de l’habitat du poisson dans la zone de conservation de Richmond, située à Ottawa (Ontario). Ce projet a été réalisé en partenariat avec Pêches et Océans Canada, Shell Fueling Change, Muskies Canada (chapitre d’Ottawa), le National Defence Fish and Game Club, la Fondation communautaire d’Ottawa, Fendock et l’Ottawa Flyfishers Society.

Le projet a consisté à convertir une zone de parc gazonnée en un petit milieu humide le long de la rivière Jock. L’entreprise Raab Construction Ltd. a participé à la création du milieu humide, et les travaux n’auraient pu être achevés sans l’aide d’un groupe de vaillants bénévoles.

Le projet s’est conclu par une journée de plantation d’arbres le 16 mai.

Pour informations :
Jennifer Lamoureux, biologiste (habitats aquatiques et de poissons)
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
613-692-3571, poste 1108
jennifer.lamoureux@rvca.ca
https://www.rvca.ca/jock-river-fish-habitat-embayment-creation-project (en anglais)

(English) Lake Simcoe Muskie Restoration Project Wins Top Conservation Award (2010)

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The Spring Fishing and Boat Show and its partners established a new award in 2010 for the top fishing conservation project of the year. The inaugural winner was Muskie Canada’s Lake Simcoe Muskie Restoration Project. This multi-year project is to reintroduce muskellunge into Lake Simcoe after an absence of about 30 years. The project is led by Dave Boxall, Project Manager, and Jim Kelly of Muskies Canada and Jason Borwick and Brad Allan of the Ontario MNR. It is supported by many partners, including the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Sir Sandford Fleming College, Muskies Inc., Canadian Sportsman’s Shows, Bob Izumi’s Fishing Forever Foundation, Georgian Bay Hunters and Anglers and the Spring Fishing and Boat Show.