Want to have fun? Gotta fly

With the pandemic causing a lot of uncertainty and the direct cancellation of activities and events, it has affected many organizations and charities’ fundraising attempts.Trout Unlimited staff came up with a unique way to generate some funds while promoting fishing and the contributor receiving a great award.

Trout Unlimited Canada is in the midst of hosting, Tying for Conservation which is the offering of webinars on a wide variety of topics involving fly fishing, just in time for spring and summer. The minimum donation to take part in required to receive access to a presentation is $25.

We were pleasantly surprised by the success our program had as it was an untested campaign subject. The funds generated will be geared towards the on the ground restoration work we do each year across Canada,” explains Phil Rowley, Marketing and Communications with Trout Unlimited Canada. “The idea is an evolution of our Fin Art peer to peer fundraising campaign we first launched in 2020. Peer to peer fundraisers work on the principle of TUC’s supporters help raise money on behalf of Trout Unlimited Canada,. 

“With the widespread use of online presentations through platforms such as Zoom we could use a peer to peer approach to provide online fly tying instruction.  All it takes for someone to watch is a minimum tax-deductible donation.  Some of our tyers provided additional value added benefits should someone choose to make a larger donation.”  

Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC) “has been protecting Canada’s freshwater resources for all Canadians” since 1972. According to TUC, it was founded by six anglers concerned about the health of their local river and has grown into a national organization with over 25 local chapters and over 10,000 supporters and volunteers. It adds “With over $100M invested in conservation and protection, Trout Unlimited Canada has succeeded in bringing back lost species, reducing harmful bacteria, improving water quality, reducing flooding and erosion and giving community members a voice.

This is definitely a unique way to raise funds. According to Rowley, finding instructors wasn’t difficult. 

“We worked as a group to reach out to contacts we knew who we felt would be able and willing to support our Tying for Conservation fundraiser,” explains Rowley. “During that process we tried to provide a wide range of tying styles, fly patterns with a Canada wide appeal. We have presentations on trout patterns, streamers, Atlantic salmon and steelhead flies to provide a wide range of tying subjects and appeal. We also had additional tyers see our campaign and join our campaign. The beauty of these campaigns, both Tying for Conservation and Fin Art, is anyone can choose to create their own presentation in support of the campaign.”

As stated the pandemic has cancelled a lot of events, but outdoor activities have seen a renaissance of sorts. This is true of fishing as Rowley notes that it is relaxing and it fits the pandemic criteria of being away from large groups of people.

“With the onset of the pandemic there was some concern that restrictions would negatively impact fishing. In reality quite the opposite happened as people could still get outdoors and the nature of the sport proved to be perhaps the ultimate self-isolation activity,” explains Rowley. “It is an activity all members of a family can enjoy regardless of their age.  It is also an excellent activity for people to engage and link with the outdoors creating a bond with our environment and why it is so important to protect and preserve.”

Remaining Schedule (all workshops held via Zoom at 7 p.m. MST/Alberta time unless otherwise stated):

Mar 17/21: Ryan Taylor - Salmonflies

in hand

Mar 24/21: Rob Texmo - Flies by Tex Gives Back

Mar 31/21: Bob Vanderwater - Effective Micro Leeches for Everyone

Apr 7/21: Trevor Tatarczuk - Advanced Chironomid Tying for Conservation

Apr 14/21: Nick Groves - Teach your streamers how to dance

Apr 21/21: Joel Hill - Spey flies for


Apr 28/21: Rick Harding - Rick Harding's 2 minute flies

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