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Incoming northern travel restrictions prompt organizers to cancel Paint Lake fishing tournament

The second ban on non-essential travel to Northern Manitoba scheduled to take effect Sept. 3 has already forced the cancellation of one event scheduled for Labour Day weekend.
Daryl Murphy, who was half of the winning team at the 2019 Kickerfish Northern Manitoba Walleye Cham
Daryl Murphy, who was half of the winning team at the 2019 Kickerfish Northern Manitoba Walleye Championship at Paint Lake Provincial Pakr, won’t get the chance to defend his title this year as the organizers of the fishing tournament called it off Aug. 31 after the provincial government announced that it would be reinstating a ban on non-essential travel to Northern Manitoba effective Sept. 3.

The second ban on non-essential travel to Northern Manitoba scheduled to take effect Sept. 3 has already forced the cancellation of one event scheduled for Labour Day weekend.

The fourth-annual Kickerfish Northern Manitoba Walleye Championship fishing tournament was set to take place at Paint Lake Provincial Park Sept. 6 but the organizers called it off Aug. 31 after the provincial government announced that restrictions on travel north of the 53rd parallel would once again be put in place in an attempt to ensure that COVID-19 does not spread to isolated or remote communities in the north from the province’s south, where new daily case numbers have been in the double digits since early August.

“As many are aware, the tournament organizers and a few teams are from the south so this poses a potential risk,” the organizers said in an Aug. 31 post on their Facebook page. “We reviewed things this afternoon and have decided to cancel the 2020 Northern Manitoba Walleye Championship. This was not an easy decision but we want to respect and support the northern communities during this challenging time.”

Started in 2017, the Northern Manitoba Walleye Championship had more than 40 teams registered in each of its first three years and had 32 two-person teams registered for this year, most hailing from Northern Manitoba, particularly the Thompson area.