Anglers compete for cash prizes at Island Lake Bass Derby

July 19, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Casting your line into Island Lake could net you a nice cash prize if the right fish takes the bait.

The eleventh annual Island Lake Bass Derby took place at the Island Lake Conservation Area last weekend (July 13-14) with hundreds of anglers registering to be part of the competition.

While bass were the main fish they were after, there were also prizes for the largest pike, black crappie, and yellow perch.

There were two categories – one for adults and one for kids under 11 years of age.

Prizes are awarded based on a combined score of the weight and length of each fish caught.

The contest opened at 7:00 a.m. each day and anglers were required to keep within a marked area of the lake prior to the start of the derby. 

Derby marshals monitored the area to ensure no one ventured past the marked boundaries to get a early start. Once the contest was open, anglers selected their bait and cast their lines.

While some ventured out onto the lake in boats, others tried their luck by casting off the many docks around the shoreline.

The event is hosted by the Friends of Island Lake with support from the Credit Valley Conservation Authority.

“We’re the volunteers who put this on and the Credit Valley staff help us,” explained Bob Shirley, chair of Friends of Island Lake. “It started at seven o’clock this morning. It’s a catch and release tournament. The big prize is $2500. Right now were up to 250 anglers and there will be more coming in tomorrow. This is our biggest fundraiser for the Friends of Island Lake.”

Everyone who enters the competition pays a registration fee to take part in the Derby.

A leader board keeps a running total on the top ten fish as the Derby progresses so anglers can see who they have to beat. 

The fish are brought in, weighed and measured, and kept in a tank before being released back into the lake.

“The Friends of Island Lake organize the event and we, as park staff, support them,” explained Island Lake Conservation Area superintendent Yasmine Slater. “The whole event is run by volunteers. We help with the operations side of things. We monitor the marshal area in the morning. When you’re out on the water you can see little orange buoys and we have a marshaled area. We open at 5:30 a.m. so everyone can their boats in and they all have to stay within that area. At 7:00 a.m a horn blows to start the contest. We try to keep it fair for everyone. We have some hardcore people that come out and there’s a lot of first time fisherman that want to come out or a local tournament.”

Typically the winning fish comes in at just over the five-pound mark.

The popular Conservation Area lake was filled with vessels from midsize fishing boats to single anglers in canoes as well as others who cast their lines from shore, all hoping to hook the big one and take home a cash prize as well as bragging rights for catching the biggest fish.

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