The Lac du Bonnet Ice Fishing Derby held its 14th annual ice fishing derby last Saturday, February 29, 2020. They had a record year with 1,292 anglers fishing 1,635 holes and catching 163 fish.
“The growth of our derby has been overwhelming.” Said Cyndie Mitchell, General Manager of Lac du Bonnet Ice Fishing Derby. “The Beausejour Cadets drilled over 1,500 holes, in record time, one hour and fifteen minutes, and we ran out. We had to drill more when our anglers couldn’t find a hole to fish.”
Twenty thousand dollars in cash was awarded through their hidden length and time system. Mathew McKay took home the first place $10,000 cash prize. There were over ninety-five other cash and prize winners, including Josh Malick, who purchased a second hole and took home two prizes – the 7th place $500 cash prize and the Longest Fish prize, coming in at 88cm. His Longest Fish prize featured a trip for two at Eagle Nest Lodge.
“We have people coming here from all over Manitoba. I even met a family from Lethbridge who has been driving out to Lac du Bonnet for the past five years to participate in our Derby, and we’re seeing more people coming from Northwestern Ontario.” Said Cyndie Mitchell. “We’ve also seen an increase in families and casual anglers who like our family-friendly event.”
Pro-angler Todd Longley was driving kids around the fishing grid in his Ice Ridge Reaper. Kandace Mann won a fishing trip with Todd Longley as the Early Bird Prize winner. Pro-angler and fishing influencer Eric Labaupa was in attendance with his family, and pro-angler David Obirek was there with the Selkirk Youth Fishing Initiative group taking in a day of fishing.
Local non-profit organizations earned over $8,700 by supplying the derby with 106 volunteers who worked a combined total of 485 hours. The derby pays non-profit group volunteers per hour in Community Volunteer Organization (CVO) hours as a way to invest Derby profits back into the community.
The Committee is currently accepting grant applications from local non-profit groups. Over the past 13 years, the Derby has financially supported over 69 projects in Lac du Bonnet and surrounding communities. The deadline for applications is March 31 and groups can apply by visiting ldbice.ca.
Lac du Bonnet Ice Fishing Derby is seeking people to fill needed Board and Committee positions. “We’ve experienced double-digit year-over-year growth for the past four years, and we’re planning big things for our 15th anniversary next year. We need people to help in planning and decision making.” Said Derby President, Dennis McGuffin. “If this event is going to continue, we absolutely need top people in the fold. We don’t want Lac du Bonnet to lose the derby due to leaders in our community not stepping up.” People interested in more information about joining the Lac du Bonnet Ice Fishing Derby can contact Cyndie Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.