About Us

The Sportsman's Chapter was chartered on October 21, 1929 in Harford County, Maryland only a few short years after the national organization was founded in Chicago in 1922.  The chapter property is affectionately named "Dovedale" in honor of Izaak Walton and the beautiful limestone valleys where he spent most of his time fishing!

Born in 1593 in Stafford, England, Izaak Walton is famous throughout the world for his fishing book "The Complete Angler". It has since become one of the most loved and reprinted books in the English language.

The river Dove is the principal river of the southwestern Peak District, in the East Midlands and is around 40 miles in length. For most of its course it forms the boundary between the counties of Staffordshire (to the west) and Derbyshire (to the east.) The river is a famous trout stream!  Charles Cotton’s fishing house, which was the inspiration for Izaak Walton’s The Complete Angler stands in the woods by the river near Hartington.

From Hartington to its confluence with the river Manifold at Ilam, the river flows through a series of scenic limestone valleys, known collectively as Dovedale.  The Dovedale gorge is considered so scenic that it attracts a million visitors each year.  Dovedale was declared a National Nature Reserve in 2006.

Our chapter takes great pride in our club house.  We proudly display many awards that the chapter has received over the years.  In addition, we have a library and video collection that is available to our members.  With a full kitchen, we are also capable of hosting a number of events throughout the year!

Although our membership is diverse, we are all passionate about teaching the next generation about the great outdoors.  We strive to create a family atmosphere where the children in our community enjoy coming to our clubhouse and Dovedale property to hike, fish, hunt, or just hang out!  All we do is for the kids!

The Chapter property is located on Onion Road located just off of Route 136 approximately 2.5 miles west of Route 24 in Northern Harford County.


Our Chapter House is also available for private parties - birthday, graduation, showers, anniversary - any celebration!  We offer a fully equippped commercial kitchen, large roomy area with plenty of tables and chairs, a cozy fireplace and plenty of room to set it all up to make your own private gathering however you choose.  You can have as many as 120 people, with easy access to the parking lot.  Contact a Board Member for Rental Rates.


All donations are greatly appreciated.  The IWLA is a 501(c)3 and all donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.  A copy of our 501(c)3 status letter can be accessed through the attachment listed below.  Checks should be made payable to " IWLA Sportsman's Chapter" and can be mailed to:


Dave Messics, President
IWLA Sportsman's Chapter
5018 Onion Rd.
Pylesville, MD  21132

Sportsman's Chapter IWLA,
Jan 18, 2011, 10:58 PM