Welcome to the Website of the Winchester Chapter of the Izaak Walton League

2863 Millwood Pike, Winchester, VA 22602

All mail to P.O. Box 2955, Winchester, VA 22604

COVID-19 Guidance

At its extraordinary Board Meeting on March 31, 2020, the Board approved the following response to the Covid-19 crisis and the Governor's Executive Orders # 53 and 55.   The full resolution is here.


Until June 10, 2020 or as long as the VA Governor has an applicable EO in place:


  1. The park will remain open for fishing, hiking and for limited range access.

  2. Guest privileges are suspended. NO GUESTS in the Park, including ranges, lake or walking – access restricted to members only.

  3. 6ft distancing except for family members must be maintained while on the ranges. Firing points will be restricted to ensure compliance. Failure to comply can result in closure of the ranges. Members using the Johnny Blue unit will be required to use the handwashing station that is being installed.

  4. Campgrounds will be closed and the Johnny Blue unit removed.

  5. Fishing will be permitted but distancing of at least 6ft, except for families, must be maintained. Failure to comply can result in removal from the park.  A handwashing station will be placed next to the fish measuring station.

  6. Access to the Chapter House will be restricted except for use of the bathrooms and the Office.

  7. All functions, such as Bullseye, SASP, and TWAW are cancelled.

  8. Chapter House reservations are cancelled.

  9. Approval of new memberships will be suspended.


These actions are consistent with those taken by other IWLA Chapters and comply with the Governor's Executive Orders # 53 and 55. This response benefited from a lively discussion involving members of the Lake and Conservation Committee and the Rangemaster. The Board thanks those members for their input.


Dan Arico, President

Elections Scheduled for June 18, 2020

Dear Chapter Members,


We are complying with the state regulations regarding the COVID 19 crisis with respect to social distancing , crowd size, and masks. We expect that these regulations will be further modified as may be announced by the Governor. In the meantime the Chapter is proceeding with its annual of Officers/Board of Directors as required by our Bylaws on June 18, 2020. The following five candidates have announced their intention to run for the Board:


1. Adam Forman

2. Grant Javersak

3. Patty Nunn

4. Tino Peabody

5. John Suter


Please show your support by coming to the Chapterhouse on June 18th 6:30 PM to cast your ballot. Members in good standing are requested to bring valid identification to obtain a ballot. We look forward to seeing you that evening to support your Chapter and the candidates.


Dan Arico, Chapter President

The Izaak Walton Pledge

To strive for the purity of waters, the clarity of air, and the wise stewardship of the land and its resources;  to know the beauty and understanding of nature and the value of wildlife, woodlands, and open spaces;  to the preservation of this heritage and to man's sharing in it.

Visitors - please check out our Chapter on the pages of this website.  The Grounds & Facilities page gives you an overview of our Park, and if you want to explore Membership, the Membership page will help you to apply.  Look at recent copies of our Newsletter to see what the Chapter is doing.
Newsletter Plaque.jpg

We are a Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, a national organization with Chapters across the country.  Click on the icons at right to view the National and Virginia Division websites. 

IWLA Website

Our Chapter seeks to provide public benefit through hosting special events - an example is shown below. 

Mike Mercer Memorial Kids Fishing Derby, April 27, 2019

The 2019 Mike Mercer Memorial Kids Fishing Derby was a resounding success due to Special Events Committee chairman Harold Whitacre and his dedicated team of volunteers.


The registration process was managed by Ursula Dandar. The handouts and laminated forms made it easy for guests to review and all kids were given bobbers, eagle claw hooks and tackle box stickers. Don Miller assisted in the process and walked the lake selling 50/50 tickets. Patty Nunn arrived at dawn to help set up as our traffic director making sure all kids got registered as they entered the chapter.  Ursula offers special thanks to Jeff McCall for cleaning up the registration shelter and throwing the “Dead thing”🦝 away from trash can and getting a new clean trash can for shelter/guests, and thanks Don Miller, Sandra Kottman (her mother) and Patty Nunn for helping work the registration table.


Mark Prater managed our concession stand which served hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pound cake with fresh strawberries and cold drinks to a hungry crowd. Assisting Mark were Bob McDonald, Dave Kavanah, Norman and Jennifer Byrne, their son Matthew, Kelley Callahan and of course Stan Kugler and Harold Whitacre. Special shout-out to Mike Keenen for helping Mark in the early morning to fill the void in completing our "Shack".  Mark observes that the majority of these individuals are newer members of the Chapter. Their enthusiasm and energy really made the process enjoyable. He said “I can't thank them enough for the smooth operation. It is my hope that their energy and commitment can inspire our older members in understanding the value of volunteering.  Thanks again for all those who help me pull this off.”


For the first time this year, we featured a rod and reel repair station managed by Zoltan Palffy. Zoltan gave out Chapter loaner rods and completed multiple repairs during the day. We also moved the fish measuring station to the Layman shelter. Zac Bowers and Ben Storrick manned the station and recorded results. Zac also donated numerous types of bait for the attendees.


Another new idea implemented this year was managing traffic at the lake by limiting to 60 cars at the lake - the overflow was directed to the Chapter parking lot. Butch Kramer and Jim Rhodes did an amazing job directing traffic and making sure we had no traffic backup on route 50.


The true success of this event is kids catching fish and having fun! This was made possible by the amazing job of our lake staff who worked hard to make sure every child caught fish. The team was managed by Edward Dandar and included Doug Morgan, Rick Wright, Jeff McCall and Jason Hamm. These folks are the true heroes of the event and made catching fish look easy! Ed also made sure the event started at the time advertised in the flyer. Also noted, the young men from the Front Royal Trail Life group won several awards under the guidance of Dan Arico.


Vernon Guidry, our Chapter photographer, walked the lake capturing images. Expect amazing pictures in the next newsletter and on our website (a link will be provided when ready).


We also need to thank our amazing crew that worked especially hard to make sure the Chapter grounds and lake shore were clean and well-trimmed. Mike Keenan, Rick Wright and Jeff McCall spent numerous hours cleaning the lake and shore. Butch Kramer's Building and Grounds team had the grass looking like a golf course.


An observation this year was the increase in overall size of the fish. The Lake and Conservation Committee's multiyear plan to improve the lake is paying dividends in the variety of fish caught and the overall increase in size. As an example, we had 3 bass over 3 pounds caught by kids under the age of 10 years old.


We work to improve the event every year and the best way to do that is hear what worked and what did not. As we noted with several changes this year, we work hard to improve the event every year. We gratefully accept any praise or criticism. Please send all comments to brian_callahan@winchester-iwla.org.


Again, thanks to all of our sponsors and volunteers that helped make this event an amazing success in remembrance of our friend Mike Mercer.

The 86 kids who registered for the Derby caught 128 fish including 1 Catfish, 2 Bluegill, 3 Perch, 4 Crappie, 8 Large Mouth Bass, 17 Golden Trout and 93 Rainbow Trout.  This shows the diversity of the fish population in our lake.

Upcoming Meetings:

Board Meetings: 1st Tuesday each month from 7:00 pm 

Membership Meetings: 3rd Thursday each month from 7:00 pm

New Member Orientation:  Monthly as posted on the Calendar

All business meetings are in the Chapter House unless specified otherwise.

Want to improve your skills?

We are trying to be more responsive to our members' training needs.  Please let us know what training you would like us to be offering by clicking on the link to the survey below:

© 2020 by Winchester Chapter of the Izaak Walton League