A lot of bites Saturday on first day of Island Lake Fishing Derby

February 13, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

There’s nothing more Canadian than drilling a hole in the ice and waiting for the fish to bite on a cold winter day. 

Opening day of the Island Lake Fishing Derby last Saturday, February 8, turned out to be pretty spectacular with bright sun and little wind, making for a rather comfortable day on the ice.

Around 100 anglers turned out to drill through the ice with their augers, drop their bait into the cold waters and wait for a passing pike to take the bait.

Some fished from the comfort of heated shacks. Others brought their own shelters, and other just braved it out on the ice with a fishing pole and lawn chair.

There is currently 10 inches of ice on the lake, making it very safe for fishing and even small machinery the Conservation Area crew uses to get around on the ice. 

“It’s $35 to register for the tournament,” explained Island Lake assistant superintendent, Dave Riseborough. “They get a ticket and they have to show us that ticket every time they weigh-in a fish. There’s prizes for top three longest pike, longest perch, and longest crappie. For kids, it’s the longest of any species.”

The tournament is based on the length of the fish and weight is not considered, so you might still win if you’ve got a skinny fish. 

You have to have a valid Ontario fishing license to fish if you’re between the ages of 18 and 64.

As part of the Family Day weekend you won’t need a licence for the three days between Saturday and Monday long weekend. If you’ve never fished before it gives you an opportunity to come out and give it a try.

“We have heated hut rentals – they’re those big permanent huts out there – with a heater inside. We also rent pop-up huts. All those other pop-ups you see out there are guys bringing their own stuff and they are free to do that as well. Some guys just sit out there on a bucket – when it’s nice a sunny it’s pretty good. When it’s really windy and blowing sideways you probably want a shelter.”

There’s some pretty good prizes for those that bring in the biggest fish.

“It’s all cash prizes. It’s $1000 for the first place pike. $500 for second place and $275 for third. Then $375 each for longest crappie and perch.”

This isn’t a catch-and-release tournament. You can keep your catch based on provincial limits. 

Most of the lake is available for fishing. There is a section near the bridges that is closed off as it is unsafe for Conservation personnel to access the area.

The Island Lake Conservation Ice Fishing Derby runs through to February 17, and ends on the Family Day holiday at 3:00 p.m.

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