Saskatoon’s Kilpatrick Flyfishers stand in memory of one of the province’s flyfishing pioneers.
By NEVILLE GOSLING
When I moved from Vancouver to Saskatoon in the spring of 1982, it wasn’t long before I started looking around for a fishing club and preferably a fly fishing club at that. It took me some time before I discovered the existence of the Saskatchewan Fly Fishers and in December 1982, I attended my first meeting in Lumsden. At that time, the Saskatchewan Fly Fishers comprised basically of two groups – one in Regina and the other in Saskatoon. The club held two meetings each year, held alternately in Saskatoon and Regina. Fly Fishing seminars were held each year by members of the Saskatoon group, but apart from some members who occasionally fished together, there were no organized fishing trips, lectures or regular meetings.
Over the next two years, some of the Saskatoon members, realizing a demand for more knowledge and activity, decided to form a local club which would offer monthly meetings, seminars, fishing outings and the like. It wasn’t until a group of Saskatoon based Saskatchewan Fly Fishers were returning from a meeting in Regina that a name for the new club came about.
Some of the members were reminiscing about past fishing trips with Gordon Kilpatrick. At that time Gordon Kilpatrick, or “Kil” as he was known, was in poor health, but in the ’60s and ’70s Kil practiced and pioneered the sport of fly fishing in Saskatchewan. Al Unger remembers well the time Kil caught a limit of trout on the fly while fishing from the boat dock at Little Amyot Lake. Scott Thompson was with the group returning from Regina, and it was Scott who suggested naming the yet-to-be-formed club the Kilpatrick Flyfishers, in Gordon Kilpatrick’s honour.
On 25th February, 1985, the Kilpatrick Flyfishers were officially incorporated following a successful meeting earlier that month when some 44 persons showed up and supported the proposal to form a local club. Since that day, the Kilpatrick Flyfishers have grown in size and stature. It aims to introduce people to the pleasures of fly-fishing, to encourage conservation and good management of the resource, to provide instruction in fly casting, fly tying, rod building, tackle selection and to organize fishing outings.
During that first year, fly tying classes were held in a member’s basement. This was followed by a one day seminar in May and weekly fly casting lessons. Three successful fishing outings were held that year, and repeated in 1986. Regular monthly meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the month at the Arbus Club in the Teachers Federation building in Saskatoon. In 1986, the fly tying classes were moved to the Albert Community Centre where they are held today. The club executive normally has a guest speaker or fly fishing topic for discussion by one of the more experienced members at the monthly meetings. Fly casting and fly tying continue to be the most popular subjects as more people become interested in the sport.
During this time, the Saskatchewan Fly Fishers has evolved into a provincial organization with the aim to support clubs like the Kilpatrick Flyfishers and to represent the needs of the fly fisherman to various levels of government. To this end, the Kilpatrick Flyfishers is an affiliate of the Saskatchewan Fly Fishers.
On November 26th 1985, Gordon Kilpatrick, Honorary President and lifemember of the club, passed away following a lengthy illness. He leaves behind a legacy dedicated to the pleasure of fly fishing.