Project Healing Waters Canada is proud to announce a new Program launch for veterans in Victoria, BC. This event follows the recent introduction of a regional Coordinator.
The first meeting was held at Robinson’s Outdoor store in the city centre. The veterans in attendance were introduced to the art of fly tying. the best practice for this is to see a demonstration of fly tying in action. A live screen hook-up is also a good way to view the skills needed as well as the final well-tied fly.
Fly shop manager, Matt King, and Ian Muirhead, a renowned BC fly-fishing guide, were there as well. The pair were keen that everyone enjoyed their experience. The veterans were told more about what Project Healing Waters Canada and what it does.
Furthermore, it is clear that the recruits are more than keen to pursue this new passion. They could not wait to have a go at tying some flies themselves, and the photos show how engaged they are.
Don Smith, our newly appointed BC Provincial Coordinator, an avid fly tyer and fly fisher, was present at the event. He is very enthusiastic to see his fellow veterans’ desire to continue the fly tying adventure.
The next step for this new Program and these veterans includes learning the art of fly-casting. Once this is mastered, they go out onto the water to experience the joys of fly-fishing.
Finally, this introductory event would not have been possible without the financial support of the Royal Canadian Legion. Special mention goes to Esquimalt Dockyard Branch 172, spearheaded by Jim Stephen.
Thank you to all those involved and to the companies who donated the tools for the new fly tyers to use. We appreciate the support.
If last year’s program was a success, this year is a better, improved version and included a fly tying session.
Our program began in early spring with five sessions of fly tying. Four volunteers offered help as did Sergeant (Sgt.) Robert McDuff from the local Personal Support Unit (PSI). Our provincial coordinator, Warrant Officer (WO) Gervais Jeffrey completed the team.
In a class, the participants learn the basics of fly tying. They start with tying a simple and easy wet fly. Subsequently, they learn to tie a dry fly following which they are taught to tie with deer hair.
Tying with deer hair is a moderate level of difficulty. They all succeeded during these classes to tie a minimum of two flies per session. Each of the participants received a basic fly tying kit so they can continue to practice their newly learned skills and tie their own flies.
Valcartier 2012 Fly tying
When the fly tying classes had ended, we carried on with fly casting techniques. This session included teaching the veterans basic fly fishing knots and casting lessons.
Various casting techniques were demonstrated at first, using the gym as a practice room. Subsequently, the veterans were taken on two outings so that they can practice their new skills. Most importantly, they were shown how to properly hook a fish. It isn’t easy to explain this technique indoors.
The two outings were conducted on Base Valcartier training area lakes. We have to thank the Base Rod and Gun club for their support by lending us, free of charge, electric motors and batteries for the outings.
Valcartier 2012 – montmorency forest
The final part of the Valcartier 2012 adventure was our trip to the Montmorency Forest. The forest is located in the majestic Laurentides Provincial Park. The area belongs to Laval University and is used as a training ground for future forest engineers and biologists. The lodging and food were excellent, the fishing was great. Lakes were full with native brook trout.
Due to this educational role, the trout population is controlled and no fish farm trout are introduced to the lakes. This is what makes fishing really interesting in this place. The flesh of the trout is a salmon pink colour and tastes excellent.
During our stay, we had the pleasure of listening to a guest who came to talk about his own life experience. Mr Benoit Bayard was injured at his work place in 1998. He told us about his rehabilitation life as a civilian versus his military one. His life story was an eye opener for all.
In conclusion, it seems like we achieved the goals of our program by offering our injured soldiers a new activity that they can practice. They learned to relax while fishing and being in contact with nature and the surroundings.
We could not have done all this without the help of sponsors and supporters. Below are those who supported us financially and with supplies.
Soldier On for covering the expenses of our last trip
Most of all, I cannot forget Mr Benoit Bayard, owner of QuebecPeche.com, for agreeing to publish our texts and pictures on his web site. This helps Project Healing Waters Canada to gain awareness , especially in Quebec’s fishermen population.