Town & Country

Sept 2016

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Town&Country – September 24, 2016 Country Town & MANITOBA Editor: Pat St. Germain – Saturday, September 24, 2016 COUNTRY FEST the gift that keeps on giving PG 3 PG 6 PG 4 R O S S B U R N PG 5 A nglers of all stripes fall hook, line and sinker for the Parkland's bountiful lakes and streams. And fly fishers are taking the lure in a big way, thanks to a collaborative effort from business, residents and municipal- ities that's cast the region as Canada's choice destination for the sport. Fly Fishing Canada (FFC) has chosen a trio of fishing hotspots — Roblin, Rus- sell and Rossburn — to host the 15th Canadian National Fly Fishing Cham- pionship & Conservation Symposium, set for May 28-June 3, 2017. The inaugural FFC national championship was held in the Parkland in 2003 and it has so far returned every seven years, a habit local organizers would like to see continue. Some 180 national and international fishers compete on six-person teams, and the 2017 event has already brought spinoff benefits for local fishers, outfit- ters and tourism-based businesses. With help from a Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (MAFRD) Partners for Growth grant, Roblin and Rossburn municipalities partnered to buy 16 Jon boats. They'll be used for the national tourney, and they are now avail- able to local fishers and tourists. "We are leasing them to local outfitters so we can provide a regional service," says Ben Brodeur, of the Roblin Eco- nomic Development Office. And it's a service with a few convenient twists. "The boats are mobile and can be dropped off and picked up for people, or moved to a number of different lakes, when typically when you rent a boat it's from a lodge and stays on the lake the lodge it is associated with," Brodeur says. The 14-foot, two-seat boats can be rented from Patch's Bait & Tackle in Rob- lin, or from Parkland Recreation Rentals in Rossburn. They're equipped with silent electric motors, ideal for stocked trout lakes where gas-powered motors are prohibited, and they'll hold a charge for a good eight to 10 hours of fishing. Patch's Bait & Tackle owner Phil Pacz- kowski is a master angler extraordin- aire – he's participated in the Manitoba Master Angler program for about 45 years, and ranks sixth on the Top 100 list. While he runs a small construction business, Paczkowski devotes more time each year to the business of fishing, as a commercial and recreational fisher, guide and outfitter. He opened the log- cabin shop just over a year ago, after renting out ice-fishing shacks on Lake of the Prairies for the past seven years. "I have a dozen now and I do about 600 clients a season. The first couple of years were terrible — I had maybe 12," he says. Hopefully, the boom in that business carries over to the boat rental, bait and tackle area. So far, so good. He's already had bites, including a booking for a fisher from Georgia who plans to rent a boat for a full month. "A lot of people from the U.S. come up for a month," he says, adding long- term stays in a hotel or motel with a rental car, meals and other expenses can bring significant economic benefits to a small town. The attraction for visitors is the enormous size of fish in the Parkland. While locals tend to go for perch or walleye, sport fishers like the challenge of trout fishing. "They're not the most desirable eat- ing fish," Paczkowski says. "The trout are more of a real exciting game fish. They're a real exciting fighting fish, and of course a beautiful colour." Area lakes provide prime habitats and feeding ground for trout, which may grow up to 27 inches over four years and have a lifespan of seven to nine years. Paczkowski and other community members work with grassroots organ- ization Fish and Lake Improvement for the Parkland Region (FLIPPR) to set up aeration pumps to maintain oxygen levels in several trout lakes. They're also stocked each year with small fingerlings, most from hatcheries in B.C. or the Whiteshell, with support from Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship - Fisheries Branch. The communities also put a lot of effort into making improvements to lakeshore amenities. Through his con- struction company, Paczkowski builds docks and other facilities for the Roblin municipality. Tees Lake, 25 kilometres north of Roblin, was recently equipped with an aerator and stocked with trout, and it will soon have 12 new campsites with washrooms and showers. Residents and visitors can book a boat rental from Rossburn or Roblin online at Learn more about fishing in the Roblin area at and check out Rossburn's fishing lakes and upcoming fly-fishing programs for youth and local anglers at Patch's Bait & Tackle owner Phil Paczkowski rents boats to fishers, and he's a master angler himself. Photos courtesy of Roblin Economic Development Office BY PAT ST. GERMAIN CATCH OF THE DAY for visitors is the enormous size of fish in the Parkland. While locals tend to go for perch or walleye, sport fishers like the challenge of trout fishing. E L K H O R N R E S O R T HOLIDAY HAVEN A great all-season escape that's close to home PG 2 D A U P H I N UNIQUE BOUTIQUES bring trendy goods MUNICIPALITY BUILDS ON HERITAGE as it looks to the future R O B L I N

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