The Long Point Area Fish and Game Club was founded in 1984 and we are located in Port Rowan. Although the club events may vary a little from year to year most things remain faithful to our core values – creating opportunities for fishing, hunting and conservation.
Past and present projects have included running the Long Point Bass Derby, the youths high school fishing day at Backus, the kids fishing day at Deer Creek, the NACL fishing days, the Port Rowan yard sale/swap and having work parties to create rabbit habitat, stream cleaning, hunting habitat, etc.
An elected executive of four people (President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary) oversee the smooth running of the club and are elected each spring by the members. The Long Point Area Fish and Game Club membership usually runs between 80 and a 100 members.
In the 90’s and 2000’s most of our meetings were held at the Starks Golf course club house in Port Rowan, in 2016 we moved to the Delta Waterfowl Ontario headquarters on Turkey Point road.
current Board members –
Treasurer – Bob Hawke, President – Jim Greenwood, Secretary – Dave Okines, Vice-president – Jarett Johnson
The Long Point and Area Fish and Game Club is the original fish and game club in Long Point. Some of the people who started are still around, but, they are getting up there in years and nobody can remember exactly what year the club started. It is safe to say it’s been a lot of years (30+).
Harry Stark had the idea for the club and approached the chamber of commerce about holding a meeting. After advertising, a first meeting was held and close to 150 people turned out. Jim Abbey chaired the meeting.
Harry’s concern at the time was one particular hunting guide was sewing up all the land by paying farmers for the right to hunt and shutting out locals.
Some of the other original members were Joe DeVos, Blake Priddle, Albert Dewaele and Nil Lambert.
As we understand it, the Langton guys – Joe, Blake and Albert – were particularly interested in stocking rainbow trout in Big Creek and had an upwelling box to raise eggs. The reports we received are that they weren’t particularly successful, but they kept at it for a few years.
The club’s initial meetings were held in Port Rowan Public School. More than 20 years ago, the meetings were moved to Stark’s Golf Club, where they held until around 2016 when we moved to the Delta Waterfowl Headquarters on Turkey Point Road, we have since moved to Collins Marina just east of Port Rowan.
One of the first issues the club tackled was the formation of the Long Point Biosphere Reserve in 1986. Club members wanted to ensure the man portion of the Man and the Biosphere program was emphasized. Members such as Jim Abbey and Ted Whitworth were part of the first biosphere planning committees to ensure this happened.
Upland game habitat and assisting with Norfolk’s pheasant release program has been a mainstay of the club. In the days of former Norfolk Township, club members were solely responsible for the program. We don’t know the details of how this all came about, but we do know the basis of it was the township turned the entire proceeds from pheasant and rabbit licenses over to the club. In addition, we topped up the township money with some of our own to put even more birds out.
Club members purchased the birds from Jim Abbey. They often helped catch them, then drove the birds around to the various release sites around the county.
The Norfolk program was, we believe, the best in the area. Instead of letting all the birds go on opening day, club members released a smaller number prior to opening day and then supplemented the population with additional releases throughout the season. This way hunters could depend on a good population of huntable birds. Club member John D’Hondt was at the centre of the program.
Besides providing sport for locals, the program was good enough it brought in people from urban centres that spent money in local businesses. Steve Scheers of Norfolk County, who then oversaw the program, was actually looking into this angle of the program and trying to promote it.
At various times in the old Norfolk days, club members experimented with releasing impregnated female pheasants in the spring to try and establish a native population. Whether that worked is a topic of debate among club members, but at least we tried.
With the amalgamation of Norfolk, the pheasant program became much bigger as there was a larger geographic area to cover. Most of the program was run by county staff, often on their own time, but club members still assisted with the releases in Norfolk. We are proud to say the club model of releases through the season was adopted across many areas.
Long Point Fish and Game Club had three main annual events for many years. As we understand it, the annual hunting and fishing show and yard sale is one of the oldest. In the early days of this event, the club brought in speakers. One of these was Canadian fishing great Bob Izumi. Now the show is a place for local and vendors from as far away as Fort Erie to display their wares. There’s new and used fishing equipment, guns, decoys, home décor, clothing, hunting and fishing paraphernalia all offered for sale. Some of these items the vendors purchase as lots, or from bankruptcy sales and are a real deal. Others are one-of-a-kind antiques you won’t find many other places.
A fixture of the show is the Clubs own yard sale table where its members sell used hunting and fishing equipment. This is where some of the real interesting stuff is found.
The show is also a social gathering in the middle of February when there’s not too much else to do – especially if there’s no ice. The women’s institute pies are a favourite draw for some.
The club ran one event that drew more people to Long Point Bay than any other event – the opening of bass season. Along with the Lake Shore Shopper, Long Point and Area Fish and Game Club presented the annual opening day derby. This is a tradition that started with former Shopper owner Gary Moggach and continued until around 2018.
This isn’t the bass derbies like the pros fish on television where live release is emphasized, but is a family event where taking a fish home for a good feed is encouraged, not discouraged. The derby had a good payout. No trucks or bass boats, but first prize for the largest fish in both the largemouth and smallmouth categories was $1,000. Several other prizes were handed out for other large Bass and there was even $200 for the largest fish weighed that wasn’t a bass.
Weigh-in was the place to be if you want to see some nice bass. Typically the winner tops five pounds, which is a good-sized fish in my estimation.
There was a chance to win a boat too. All who bought a ticket were entered in a random draw for a 14-foot Lund.
Just because eating a few bass isn’t discouraged in the derby, doesn’t mean we didn’t do what we could to help the anglers who wanted to put back their fish in the bay. Long Point Bay Anglers live release boat, which has a tank and aerator to help keep the bass alive until they are returned to deeper, cooler water, was a part of the derby for over 10 years.
The club’s other big fishing event of the summer was taking clients with Norfolk Association for Community Living fishing for a day on Long Point Bay. This event was only possible through the generosity of local charter boat operators who donated their boats for the morning. Our club provided the rod and reels for the clients and our members assisted with the catching of the fish. This was one of those events that is a way of giving back to the community. The event wound up with a barbecue back on shore.
Some of the other events over the years have included having turkey shoots, we had a hand in the original turkey releases and monitoring of the birds, and helped with painting and fixing up cabins at Long Point Waterfowl’s Potter Creek Camp.
Throughout the year the club makes donations to several local causes. These include the Ruffed Grouse Society, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, the kid’s rock bass derby, Long Point Waterfowl, ladies hunting events and various habitat improvement initiatives. We usually make a point of supporting various youth initiatives, although we never have held one of our own until we started the Youth Pheasant hunt.
A habitat improvement initiative the club spearheaded on its own was recent improvements to Dedrich Creek. The main thrust of these efforts was installing fencing to keep cattle from entering the creek on two area farms and keep siltation down. We also planted trees adjacent to the creek to help stabilize the banks and further slow erosion. Club members were looking for further improvements in Dedrich Creek, likely in the area of St. Williams Crown Forest, but were waiting on the completion of the management plan so we can see how that will fit into the puzzle.
When NCC started acquiring land in Norfolk County the club was active in ensuring that hunting could take place where possible.
In the case of the Lake Erie Farms, the first NCC property we knew the deer could damage the Carolinian vegetation the NCC were trying to restore. There was also a fear turkeys could thin out the small amphibian population – things like salamanders can be in a turkey’s diet. Bob Hawke, a relatively new club member, was behind a deal that gave club members the exclusive hunting and fishing rights to that property. After an initial two-year deal, the agreement was renewed.
The most recent change to the Long Point and Area Fish and Game Club is we now require all our members to also be members of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. Although we had been an affiliate club for years, it was never mandatory to be an OFAH member. The reason for the change was the great deal on insurance for clubs with 100 per cent OFAH membership.
Going into the future, Long Point and Area Fish and Game Club continues to represent the interests of anglers and hunters. Along the way we are trying to make the environment a better place. After all, anglers and hunters are the original environmentalists.
Old club flyer (outside)
Old club flyer (inside)
Port Rowan yard sale and Swap
Members fishing day
Youth pheasant hunt