Lyle Irving Wins $500 early bird prize

Ninth annual Elliot Lake Ice Fishing Derby to reel in winning catch Feb. 21

The ninth annual Elliot Lake Ice Fishing Derby is set for Saturday, Feb. 21.

The top prize is half of all the anglers’ entry fees. Last year, Blind River resident Mike Landry caught a 55.5-centimetre (21.8-inch) northern pike in Elliot Lake’s eighth annual Ice Fishing Derby. With 637 anglers taking part in the 2014 fishing derby that catch was worth a cool $31,850.

The entry fee is $100 per hole to a maximum on two holes, say organizers Kate Matuszewski and Darla Hennessey.

However, those who were hoping to have their names entered in the early birds registration draw missed the deadline, which was just before Christmas. The winner of the $500 early bird prize was Lyle Irving of Goulais River, located north of Sault Ste. Marie.

There are 1,000 entry tickets available.

There is more than one way to register for the event.

One can register at the Welcome Centre in Lester B. Person Civic Centre on Highway 108 in Elliot Lake during its regular hours, by calling 1-800-661-6192 or 705-848-2287 ext. 2406 or by calling the Elliot Lake Trading Post at 705-848-8401, using a credit card.

Anglers can pick up their tags or register at the Welcome Centre on Friday, Feb. 20 from 3 to 8 p.m. and on Feb. 21 from 8 to 11:30 a.m.

The three-hour catch-and-release ice fishing derby runs from noon to 3 p.m. Only registered anglers will be allowed in the fishing area.

The anglers don’t have to drill their holes. Volunteers from Elliot Lake Secondary School will be drilling all the holes that morning. Last year, the volunteers drilled 700 holes.

“It only took them about an hour and a half last year,” says Hennessey.

There are dozens of volunteers, including individuals, clubs and organizations, doing these and other tasks to help make the derby a success.

When anglers catch a fish, they will have to get their catch to the closest judging table, of which there will be several spread throughout the fishing area. There will be two judges per table. The angler’s time will be recorded when they get to the judges, not when they actually catch the fish. The size of the fish will be by length.

Second prize this year is a $7,000 travel gift card vacation package.

“It’s to wherever they want to go,” says Hennessey.

“Or they can split that into two vacations if they want,” adds Matuszewski.

“You can keep using it until it runs out,” says Hennessey.

In addition, the top ten anglers’ catches are guaranteed a prize, which is not a catch one would consider throwing back.

Some of the prizes could include: ice augers, power tools, portable ice fishing huts and an X-Box Special Edition.

After that the prizes will be drawn at random, so whether one caught a fish or not, all the names are put back in the box for the draws. These prizes also included such things as: ice augers, snowsuits, fish finders, power tools, gifts cards and more, they said.

There is also a door prize, which is a big-screen television. The prizes will be awarded following the derby at the Miner’s Memorial Park on Highway 108, on the shore of Horne Lake.

For those who want a hardy breakfast on Feb. 21 before then head out on the ice, the Masonic Hall at 171 Spruce Avenue will be serving it starting at 8 a.m. on Feb. 21.

For those who get hungry during the event, Elliot Lake Search and Rescue will be hosting a barbecue outside of the fishing area on Horne Lake for the anglers as well as the public.

Perspective anglers can also get more information on Facebook at Elliot Lake Ice Fishing Derby.

Since the derby’s inception in 2007, $181,600 has been given out in first prizes alone. Then there were all the other prizes such as snowmobiles and ATVs.

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