Photo: The Pine Falls Dock on Sunday, October 11 during the Annual St. Georges Voyageurs Walleye Classic.
By Don Norman
Despite COVID and some pesky winds, the Annual St. Georges Voyageurs Walleye Classic Derby was a success, according to derby organizer, Steve Kush.
Because of the pandemic, numbers were down this year. This year they only 58 boats entered, and Kush said they normally like to hit about 100.
“We usually pull in a good 12 boats from the States,” Kush said. Another big hit came from the cancellation of the Central Walleye Trail’s (CWT) season. The CWT tallys scores over 11 different derbys and awards prizes to the top performing anglers. The St. Georges Voyageur’s Walleye Classic is the last derby of their season. Kush said the CWT accounts for another 15-20 boats. However, Kush remained positive, “All things considered we are happy with the turnout.”
This is the second year in a row that the derby has had diminished numbers. Last year, there was a huge snow storm that stopped a bunch of boats from getting to the event.
While the weather mostly cooperated this year, it did create some difficulties on Sunday when high winds blowing towards the lake cause water levels to drop close to six feet.
Water levels dropped close to 6 feet. Because of the SSE wind that pushed all the water out to the lake.
This caused issues with launching boats. “We had 3 guys almost chest deep in the water in these winds. We were helping to launch the boats and getting them back on their trailers,” said Kush.
The biggest down side to the lower numbers this year, is that prize numbers are reduced as well. Kush says the full prize money is only awarded if they hit their 100 boat mark.
The derby is run by the St. Georges Voyageurs Hockey team as a fund raiser. The organization keeps 3% off the top and the rest goes to prize money. Pretty much all of that 3% goes back to the community. The Voyageurs give out two $500 high school scholarships and the remainder of that 3% goes to the Town to pay for ice rentals.
First place overall was Dave Sellwood and Daniel Gougeon from Regina who jumped 37 spots from their first day stangings to claim the top prize with a total of 26.55lb; Second place went to Mike Davey from Winnipeg with a total of 25.16lb, third place went to another team from Winnipeg, Ted and Chase Stewner, with their 24.5 lb haul.
The top local entry was Steve Kulyk and Don Powell, who placed 5th overall, with 23.92lbs.
The Big Fish prize for day one was won by Jun and Michelle Guzej with an 8.53 lb walleye. The Big Fish prize for day two went to Jack McLauglin and Mr. Limchuck with their 8.69lb catch.
The Calcutta winners were: 1st – Doug Cramer (82.1lb); 2nd – Jason McNaughton (79.24 lb) and ; 3rd – Robert Lestrat (76.48lb).
For full results, please visit the Facebook page for the event.