This occasional column will help guide fly fishers through the fog of technology. Despite claims of progress, computers are still not "user-friendly" and some are downright hostile. Contempt is a reasonable attitude towards these awkward intrusions on society. The Internet (the bastard child of television and CB-radio) is no more a super-highway than a cart path to Crete. Sure you can get there from here, but damned if there isn't a labyrinth to climb through first.
Still, there's knowledge in them thar' hills and like or despise the path, that knowledge is golden. Technology may never help you catch more or bigger or wilder fish, but for the other things you do -- meet other anglers, plan trips, discover new patterns, or follow conservation efforts -- it can put the world at your fingertips. This article will stick to the best, with so much to choose from only the top 10% will even register on the scale.
If you find a great piece of software or informative web site, drop me a line. Several ways to contact me will appear at the end of the article. This month I am especially seeking out fly-related software to review.
The rating scale, in order of increasing impressiveness: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.
Izaak Walton Fly Fishing Club
Webmaster: Bob Lundy, email@example.com
Rating: Not Rated
The IWFFC web site is a recent creation which provides information about this extraordinary Mississauga-based club. Features include the Canadian Fly Fishing Forum, club meeting dates, membership information, and a variety of links.
Ontario Fly Fishing On-Line Magazine
Webmaster: Nick Pujic
Rating: Two Fish
This is a pretty good site with a variety of informative, though uneven information. The Fly Patterns section is nicely organized with many patterns and small pictures; perhaps too small but nicely done. The Articles are brief and get to the point and cover a good range of topics. The Reports section looks to have potential, and encourages visitors to report conditions from around the province. Overall this is a very good site, sort of a "trout of all trades" (though it covers jack and muskie too). Don't expect it to answer all your questions, but it's well worth a visit.
Fish Ontario - Ontario Out of Doors Magazine
Rating: Blue Fish
No, Ontario isn't out of doors, in fact we have plenty left. Sorry, couldn't resist. But back to the Fish Ontario site and yes, this is one you'll want to get back to. There are two parts you should check out -- the main part, aimed primarily at spin fisherman (which contains great information on Ontario's lakes), and the Flyfish Ontario section.
The hatch charts are wonderful, just select an insect and the site displays pictures of its stages (i.e. nymph, dun, and spinner for Hendrickson), a nice emergence chart, hook sizes and colours. I would recommend referring to the charts on the "Bob's Gone Fishing" site since they provide a better calendar of hatches, and then refer to this site for an idea of the nymphs and spinners to prepare for before and after the main hatch.
The IWFFC's Elliot Deighton has a regular article here, in January his topic was "Pike on the fly." And damned if it wasn't just what I was looking for, good advice and useful fly patterns. The other articles are just as useful. But back to the main site. You will find well-written articles, wonderful maps, a guide to trout ponds, definitely a resource to bookmark.
Bob's Gone Fishin'
Webmaster: Bob Lundy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating: Red Fish
The IWFFC's own Bob Lundy has put together a heckuva web site. From a comprehensive guide to getting started in fly fishing, to some easy-to-read Southern Ontario hatch charts, this is a great site. The pages load fast. No large, time-wasting photos, just a few simple sketches where they're needed. There are informative links all over the place. If Bob writes "I like to use a Slip Loop Technique," in the Getting Started section, just click on the words "Slip Loop Technique" for an explanation complete with diagram. Heck, he even manages to make the "About Bob" section interesting. Wow, nice work Bob. Now get to work on the Izaak Walton site, will ya? And while he's working, everyone else should come check out this site.
Ministry of Natural Resources - Publications
Webmaster: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, email@example.com
Rating: Not rated
Here is your source for the Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary, MNR Annual Reports, and the Take a Kid Fishing Guide. Note that you need Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer to view the publications, instructions are at the site.
And that is the cream of the crop for fly fishing in Ontario. Comments should be directed to Eli Robillard by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by snail mail at the IWFFC address, or in person at the meetings. My website is http://www.erobillard.com/, drop by for a visit.