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TRAA Past Events

Participate, Help Out, Have Fun
vents & activities are what the TRAA's all about!

Rod Building Jigs
There have been requests for the "how to" videos and printable instructions of the rod jigs we built for our rod building course. So here you go!

Almost Free Jig

This is a simple, inexpensive way to build a wrapping jig for those who want to try building their own fishing rod but aren't ready to invest $100 to $1500 on a commercial jig.

All in, this jig cost me $3.25 Canadian, plus tax (2019).

Print Instructions.



Cheap DIY Jig

This is the follow up video to my "Almost Free" Rod Wrapping Jig, which was based on a cardboard box.

If you're ready for a more functional and permanent rod wrapping jig, this is your ticket!

Print Instructions.






Trout Hatchery Update

Thanks to a few dedicated TRAA members, 90% of the updates and maintenance required to the trout hatchery and the shed have been completed. Here are some of the highlights:

Hatchery Interior 2Hatchery Interior 3

Hatchery Interior 1












There is still work remaining to get the exterior lighting for the stairs and the deck to where we want it. This will likely be postponed until the brown and rainbow fry have been released this coming spring.





Annual TRAA Paddle & Fish
Saturday, July 13, 2019

Stan-through-oar-frameThis year's TRAA Paddle & Fish took place on July 13th and we had around a dozen participants from the TRAA, the Forest City Flyfishers and the Western Ontario Fish & Game Protective Association.

It was a beautiful day with the thunderstorms holding off for our after-paddle BBQ.

This year's route took us from Elgin Road 73, through the town of Dorchester to the Lion's Park just west of town.

Most, if not all of us, had never been on this stretch of the South Thames River. Our efforts were rewarded with some of the prettiest scenery that any river has to offer. Click Here for a short "point of view" video to give you an idea.

Into the sun




Perfect weather with bluebird skies welcoming the morning sun.






Fly Cast




Awesome scenery; shame about the cast!






Stans Bass




Stan with a nice Thames River Smallie.






Rays Bass




Ray's smallie ended up the eventual winner!






Chef Rick




Chef Rick ensured the hungry crew was fed.






Fillin their faces


Many dogs and burgers were consumed.

Special thanks to Mary (centre) who got up early in the morning just to shuttle everyone back and forth between the launch site and this park.

Also, many thanks to the Dorchester Lion's Club for providing this perfect venue for a BBQ at the end of the Paddle & Fish route.





Trophy Presentation




Paul, displaying evidence of a faulty mustard squeeze bottle, presents Ray, this year's proud recipient, with the beautiful and coveted TRAA Paddle & Fish Trophy.













Children's Water Festival
Fanshawe Conservation Area - May 16 - 17, 2019

Paul and Kid

The TRAA took part in the "Public Night" portion of the event, Thursday, May 16 from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.

The kids cast at fish targets that we had set up and it was much fun for us as it was for the kids!

Many thanks to The Western Ontario Fish & Game Protective Association for providing the fish targets and the rods, reels and rubber weights.


Kids casting


Well over a thousand people came through the gates before 7:30pm for this event!


Extra-big thanks to those few members who came out to lend a hand.











Brown Trout Release
Saturday, May 4, 2019

Fry in a bagThe brown trout were transferred from the TRAA hatchery and released at the same site on Medway Creek as in previous years.

TRAA members loaded up the trout fry into the transfer tank at the hatchery site. We then proceeded to the release site north of London, Ontario.

We were met there by two of the landowners through which this section of Medway Creek flows. They also brought out a large contingent of family and friends to lend a helping hand.

It was a beautiful day, the stream was in perfect shape and everyone was smiling and laughing. Good times.





River Cleanup!
Sunday, May 5, 2019

Related imageThe TRAA be helped out again this year with a cleanup of the shoreline and area of the river near the Komoka Road bridge.

After meeting at the NEW parking lot for Komoka Provincial Park on Gideon Drive, everyone carpooled to the usual stretch around the bridge.

Thank you to all that showed up to help out!





Medway Creek Habitat Project
Initial Stream Walk, March, 2019

Medway Creek - March 2019Those of you who have been involved with the brown trout releases over the past few years may recognize this spot on Medway Creek as the release point.

Those of you who have been attending the last few General Meetings will also know that this is part of a 280-metre stretch on which we will be focusing future habitat rehabilitation efforts.
We have met with and have the support of the two landowners through which this stretch of Medway Creek flows.

Back in March we took a stream walk on this section of Medway Creek, during which we documented areas in need of work and added our initial thoughts.

If you would like to be involved with TRAA projects like this one or one of the many others that we have ongoing, please Contact Us.




Stream Habitat Work Party
Took place on Saturday, October 13, 2018

Dans VidA few TRAA members cleared a number of fallen trees and other blockages on October 13th.

Dan Shinkelshoek made a video of the proceedings and it's worth a look so click on the picture to view.

If you have further questions about TRAA stream habitat projects and events, please come out to the TRAA General Meeting on Wednesday, November 14th or contact us.





Stream Habitat Work Party
Thursday, July 12, 2018

We were very excited to have a group from the MNRF's Stewardship Youth Rangers Program to do some work on Komoka Creek. This program gives groups of 16 or 17 year-olds an opportunity to spend 8 weeks working outdoors on natural resource management projects in their own community.

They worked on clearing a section of Komoka Creek upstream of the TRAA trout hatchery.  A major tree had fallen and a lot of the bank went with it. This created a blockage and was diverting the stream, increasing the likelihood of further bank side damage and erosion.
We were also fairly certain that this was a barrier to migratory and resident fish passage. 







Work Party - Hatchery Roof Repair
Saturday, June 30, 2018

Tree damage to hatcheryAs most members already know, a large tree was blown down during high winds on May 2nd.

Ironically, barely a week before this happened, we had already removed a couple of dead trees that had been identified as potential hazards to the hatchery.

At the time, we thought this tree wasn't a threat as it was well up the hill and well off to one side.
It unfortunately glanced off of a couple of other trees as it fell, steering it directly on to the hatchery roof!

The resulting damage, shown in this picture after the tree was removed, will required the replacement of these metal roof panels and the plywood sheathing underneath them. In addition, a couple of the roof trusses needed to be repaired.

It was an incredibly hot morning but the job was finished in record time.
There were materials left over for the tool shed roof as well but that will be another day!

If you have questions about this event or would like to get involved with other hatchery projects, please contact us.






Rainbow Trout Release
Friday, June 16, 2017

Rainbow Trout ReleaseThe rainbow trout fingerlings that we raised from eggs over this past winter were released into Dingman Creek.

This year the TRAA welcomed the ECO Club from Louise Arbour French Immersion Public School, to come out and assist successfully releasing in excess of 40,000 rainbow trout.

Both the weather and the water conditions were nearly perfect, adding to a fun and rewarding learning experience for these enthusiastic students.

The trout hatchery is now idle and will undergo some upgrades over the summer in addition to the regular yearly maintenance. If you'd like to get in on this and other TRAA activities just contact us.





Brook Trout Release
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Brook Trout ReleaseThe brook trout fingerlings went on the annual road trip throughout rural areas northeast of London to be released into several different cold water tributaries. These were brook trout eggs that we harvested with folks from the Upper Thames Conservation Authority (UTRCA) to be raised in the TRAA trout hatchery.

Thanks to everyone that has put in their time and effort to collect the brook trout eggs, monitor them in the hatchery and participate in the release.

TRAA members Rob and Owen Huber, Stan Gibbs, and Bill Vandewetering did most of the transfer and transportation duties with the support of the Upper Thames Conservation Authority, Ministry of Natural Resources.

Special thanks to all of the landowners for being involved with the habitat improvements of these little coldwater streams into which these trout were released.





Family Fishing Day - Fanshawe C.A.
Saturday, July 9, 2016

Adam & Paul NThis event has become another TRAA tradition. Members have been helping the Fanshawe Campers Association with the Family Fishing Day for many years now.

We help the kids rig up, sort out the odd tangle, help measure and release fish; we're just there to generally show them some fishing basics.

TRAA members that have come come out to this event in past years find it both fun and rewarding.

We'll be setting things up at the Fanshawe Conservation Area's boat ramp area starting at 7:30am so everything's ready when families start showing up at 9:00am. The event wraps up at 1:00pm.
If you can only come out for a couple of hours that's OK. That way if we have members showing up mid to late morning, that'll allow us to help out in shifts.

If you have any questions please contact us.







Brown Trout Release
Monday, May 2, 2016

Two girls with troutThe brown trout were successfully released with the help of 30 Grade 7/8 students from Oxbow Public School.

It was good timing as the rain stopped just as we showed up at the hatchery. Half of the students went for a stream tour lead by Bill Vandewetering and Richard Westelaken while the other half toured the hatchery operation.

During the stream tour the bald eagle showed up to its nest with a fish in its talons, much to the amazement of our guests.


Student with troutA "bucket brigade" was set up with the help of Pud Hunter, Ryan Simard, Ray Baxter, Fred Smithers and Stephen Jones to get the fish loaded into the transfer tank for the trip.

The release site on Oxbow Creek was absolutely stunning. The water was a bit murky but was shallow enough to be safe for the release. There was only a one degree difference between the stream temperature at the water in the hatchery so very little acclimating was required.

Special thanks go out to Dan Schinkelshoek and Adam Bengen for coordinating the trout release with the landowner as well as contacts from the Thames Valley District Scool Board and the Upper Thames Conservation Authority.

Also in attendance to help out were Julie Welker from the UTRCA and Erin Mutch from the TVDSB.

Judging by the smiles and wet feet of the students, a good time was had by all. 


Here are some more pictures from this awesome event.

All hands on the buckets

Human-powered escalater

Into the transfer tank

Netting them out

Letting them go

Releasing trout

Good times







Thames River Cleanup
Saturday, May 7, 2016


TRAA members met with another group to do our yearly cleanup of the area around Komoka bridge (some may call it the Speedway bridge).

While a good amount of trash was removed from the area, participants commented that there seemed to be significantly less to pick up than in previous years. Let's hope that trend continues!

It's always a great way to get some fresh air, light exercise and top up your commitment to "give back".

Thanks go out to Jeremy Beaton for organizing the TRAA contingent.








TRAA Project Days - Trout Hatchery Interior and Access Stairway

TRAA members have been hard at it all through the late summer and fall making the Keith Wales Memorial Hatchery more accessible, safer and esthetically pleasing. These improvements will also enhance the working conditions for those dedicated members who are part of the trout hatchery rotation.

Hatchery Stairs

The first and largest phase of the stairway system down to the hatchery has been completed.


This turns a rugged and often unsafe trail into "a walk in the park". It was built with folks of all ages in mind and with a nod to easier snow removal because after all, the trout are in the hatchery throughout the dead of winter.




Hatchery Stairs again


Rather than have stairs all the way down, we elected to connect a series of platforms or boardwalks with shorter flights of stairs to allow places to rest and also for pauses to appreciate the beautiful surroundings.

This layout also improves snow removal and hopefully, ongoing maintenance when required.

The railings are solid and are all at a consistent height which many of our members will recognize as a vast improvement over what previously existed.








Hatcery InteriorThose who haven't been out to the trout hatchery lately will be astounded at the changes inside!

We have new LED lighting donated by Mike Jeffries of Gillevin International in London that will make life a lot easier for trout hatchery rotation members when they're performing their "trout-sitting" duties in the dead of winter.

Also brightening the interior is the new ceiling with improved ventilation to alleviate frosting issues during sub-zero conditions.

The back wall is also been whitened to brighten, contrasting nicely with the darker coat of stain on the new floor.

Upwelling Box


Again, to make the chores that much easier, the decision was finally made to paint the interior cells of the upwelling box a lighter colour - in this case dove grey.

The old colour in the cells was the same as the exterior: dark green. This, unfortunately was the same colour of the backs of the fry we were trying to avoid when cleaning the cells or trying to capture to transfer to the circular growth tank.

Nice work everyone!
It's now easier to access the hatchery and do the good work we do there.






Family Fishing Day - Fanshawe C.A.
Happened: July 11, 2015

Adam & Paul NThis event has become another TRAA tradition. Members have been helping the Fanshawe Campers Association with the Family Fishing Day for many years now.

We help the kids rig up, sort out the odd tangle and generally show them some fishing basics. The TRAA members that come out to this event find it both fun and rewarding.

Left: Adam Bengen and Paul Noble try to help a young family on the fishing dock.



Jeemy & Kid





Jeremy Beaton guides a young angler to a likely spot on the pond.




Big Family





This happy family is ready to go fishing thanks to TRAA members rigging up rods, reels and terminal tackle supplied by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority.


Smiling Kids





Having fun kids?

Let's just let the smiles answer that one.




Rob H and Bob P




It's the Rob 'n' Bob show!

The TRAA's display board was also on location at the Family Fishing Day.
At left, Rob Huber and Bob Planques take their turn chatting with folks about everything "TRAA".






Rainbow Trout Release
Monday, June 22, 2015

The rainbow trout fry were released into Dingman Creek with the help of a Grade 4 class from Princess Elizabeth Public School.
Special thanks to TRAA members Jenn Stewart, Adam Bengen, Bill Vandewetering and Rob Huber for taking the time to help out with the this event.

Rainbow Release 1
The group of 21 students was split with half going on an "eco-walk" along Komoka Creek with TRAA member Adam Bengen (foreground above) while the the other half went for a hatchery tour.

It was all hands on deck when it was time to transfer the rainbow fry.

Bill Vanderwetering and helper
Bill Vandewetering assists students with the transfer of the rainbow trout fry into the buckets.

Rainbow Release - Jenn
Jenn Stewart helps students ensure the buckets of fry make their way safely to the transfer tank.

The rainbow fry are released into Dingman Creek after "acclimation" to the water temperature.

This event was a great fit with a program in which these kids were already participants: a project called "Stream of Dreams Murals Society". Fish Fence
This is a shot of the painted fish the class did that now adorn the fence of their school's playground.
Very cool.





Steelhead Tagging and Monitoring is done for this season

TRAA members and personnel from the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) have finished up the Salmonid Tagging and Monitoring Program for this spring.
It looks like all the migratory Rainbow trout have visited Komoka Creek, done their thing and have dropped back down as there appears to be none spotted during recent stream walks.
This program for steelhead (migratory rainbow trout) on Komoka Creek has been extended to continue and will begin again in the spring of 2016.
Thanks to all who helped out this year and a special shout out to John and Jason of the UTRCA

Here are some shots of one of our outings this season:

Each steelhead is measured both in length and girth in the recovery tub.

Tag Sewing
A tag that is unique to each fish is securely fastened to the first ray of the dorsal fin.

Tag Sewn
Here is the tag sewn and ready to be trimmed.

Scale sample
A scale sample is then carefully taken for possible DNA analysis.

Big Male
Here's a beefy male ready for release after tagging.

Big Brown
Lots of resident brown trout, darters, sticklebacks, stonerollers, hognose & white suckers as well as other fish species speak to the diversity of this unique stream.

If you see a tag such as this please report it to the Ministry of Natural resources regardless of whether the fish is to be released or harvested.





Check out the New & Improved TRAA Hatchery
Equipment Upgrades, Building Improvements & a General "Facelift"

Over the past six months or so, a small but dedicated and determined group of TRAA members put a lot of work into making your TRAA trout hatchery experience even better!
None of this could have been accomplished without grants from the MNR's CFWIP program and the OFAH through their CHP program.
Roofing Hatchery July 2014


We found that the life of our asphalt shingles was shortened by the forested location of the hatchery because of moss and other detrimental growths. Our solution to this was to install a steel roof.
A fairly routine job became precarious when near to completion, a rain shower made footing on the slick surface a challenge. Fortunately, we were able to get the last couple of panels and the cap down without mishap!




Finished Roof



The green of the new roof blends in nicely with the natural surroundings and really sets off the new stain that was applied at the same time. The hatchery' double doors were also painted TRAA green.





Ceiling Installation


White vented soffit panels were installed as a ceiling. Along with the new fluorescent lighting, this proved to really brighten the interior of the hatchery. This material was chosen because it will allow the ventilation required and will stand up to the damp environment in the hatchery.



Hatchery Interior



This view is looking from the deck and through the front doors of the hatchery. You can see how the new ceiling and light fixtures really brighten things up inside. Also note the new floor and walls which were also newly installed.





New Circular Tank


Sometimes the pressure of getting everything done on time just gets to some of us!
Here we're putting the finishing touches on the drain for the circular growth tank. This included a new stand pipe design that we're hoping will be a huge improvement over the old one.
There was also extensive re-fitting of the drain pipes below the floor of the hatchery.
This tank was refinished top to bottom including some artful fibre-glassing to fix some persistent leaks.



Filling Circular Tank



Fingers crossed!
First filling of the new growth tank and all looks well. The new standpipe worked flawlessly maintaining the perfect depth.




Upwelling Box

This is the upwelling box that was installed in 2013. We made adjustments to the tray depth so we don't have to immerse our hands as far in the cold water during the dead of winter. There were also changes made to the outflow to minimize the splashing that made the floor wet (and icy!).
Each tray cell and corresponding front cell (fry trap) is isolated from all the others.
Once the trout fry get to the "swim-up" stage, they will come through the slots into the front cells. We then move them into the circular growth tank.
The brook trout will be transferred to a separate growth tank so that they are isolated with their own separate water source.



Brookie Tank



This is the growth tank for the brook trout. This was completely stripped and polished to aid in ongoing maintenance while the brookie fry are in it. A new hinged lid was also fitted to allow them a feeling of cover and sanctuary.





Hatchery Entrance


The improvements to the TRAA's Keith Wales Memorial Hatchery will allow us to enhance our already successful track record in rearing rainbow, brown and brook trout. These improvements will also allow visitors an even better experience and opportunity to learn about trout life cycles.

We're proud of what we've accomplished so far and we invite you to contact us if your group is interested in a tour.







Rainbow Trout Release

Fry into Transfer TankThis spring's hatch of rainbow trout was incredibly successful with low mortality resulting in a phenomenal total of over 40,000 fry ready for release day on Saturday June 21, 2014.

TRAA members and guests met at the Country Hearth Restaurant in Komoka and car-pooled to the TRAA hatchery site to help out moving the fry from the hatchery to the TRAA transfer tank.

The rainbow trout fry were released into Dingman Creek.

A big THANK YOU goes out to everyone on the trout hatchery rotation whose dedication ensured a visit every day of the week from the fall when we got the brown trout and the brook trout eggs, through the winter and into the spring when we got the rainbow trout eggs.

Thanks also go out to Chris Coligan volunteering his pickup truck to transport the transfer tank to the release site.

The pictures below from this event are courtesy Rob Huber.


Netting Fry
The fry have been getting fat and strong in the hatchery growth tank. The spray bar seen at the back of the picture creates a simulated current. They are hand netted from the tank and placed in buckets to make the trip up the hill to the waiting transfer tank.

Net Full of Fry
This net full of fat, healthy rainbow trout fry are ready to go into a bucket destined for the transfer tank.

Bucket Brigade
Once the fry have been netted from the growth tank into the buckets, it's time for the arduous trip up the stairs from the hatchery to where the transfer tank awaits.

Aclimating Trio
The fry travel in the transfer tank in the back of a pickup truck to the release site which in this case is this pretty section of Dingman Creek. This image shows three volunteers "acclimating" the water in the bags with that of the creek to minimize the shock of temperature change upon the release of the trout fry.

Acclimating Loner
Here the last bag of fry to be released is being acclimated. Note the riparian tree and grass cover which help stabilize stream temperatures and the banks from erosion.

Fry Swim Free
The recently released rainbow trout fry quickly adjust to their new home in the wild. It's difficult to say how many of these guys will make it to adulthood but we know that thanks to the TRAA and their dedicated Trout Committee, they'll at least get a head start.