The horn sounded at 11 a.m. Saturday Feb. 13 and the hooks dropped into the water to start off the Battleford’s North Stars 20th Annual Jackfish Lake Ice Fishing Derby and fundraiser.
“We had between 800 and 900 registered to fish,” marketing office manager and derby committee member Trent Cey said. “If about half of those people come out and get a second hole there’s probably over a thousand lines in the water.”
This year took a dip in participation according to Cey.
“It’s a little bit smaller this year but I think a lot has to do with the temperature being so bad last year that it turned people off. So this year we had to restructure the prizes due to insurance issues. If you look at the economy people don’t have a lot of extra money to spend but we’re happy with the turn out.
“If you get over a thousand lines in the water and getting people all over western Canada, we have guys from Dauphin and people from BC, it’s a great event.”
The final totals won’t be tallied until next week, but Cey projected around $10,000. The derby has raised up to $30,000 some years.
Money wasn’t necessarily the goal, said Cey.
“The goal was to re-establish it as one of the better ice fishing derbies in Western Canada, one of the most well-known. I think we accomplished that. The next thing is to look at the structure of our prizes and to get a thousand people out here next year.”
The prizes this year were pretty grand and that’s without the big bonus up for grabs if someone catches a big enough fish.
“There’s a bonus prize of $20,000 dollars and a massage chair, which is around $8,000 if someone catches a fish over 10lbs. I think we just heard the horn so I don’t think anyone got over that. The biggest prize someone is going home with is a brand new fishing boat, I think the biggest fish was about 6.9lbs, not sure who it was but we’ll find out.”
That someone was Dean Shinkewski from Saskatoon who took home a brand new 2015 Princecraft 16 foot boat by catching a 6.9lbs jackfish. This wasn’t his first time taking home a prize.
“I’ve been participating for 15 years and a couple years ago we won a smoker. We got twenty-third place, it’s a step up from a smoker. I’ll be back next year.”
In the 20 years of the derby the bonus prize has been claimed once, so Cey said it’s not impossible.
“In the 18th year someone won the bonus grand prize so that was obviously a huge amount of money that he won but there are fish big enough to win the grand prize so I guess once out of 20 years is where we’re at. It is possible.”
There were 180 to 200 fish caught Sunday, but don’t worry animal enthusiasts, it was a catch and release tournament.
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