The Jimmy Jackfish Derby was held March 9 on the Rocky Lake East Shore and was a success according to organizers. Over 619 fishers from all over Manitoba, Saskatchewan and as far away as Olds, Alberta attended and competed for over $40,000 cash and prizes.
The day started with a light dusting of snow that quickly burned off as the sun rose higher in the sky. Entrants started arriving at 8 a.m. and waited patiently for their chance to pick their favourite hole. At the 12 p.m. start most of the 619 fishers were at their spots and the fishing began in earnest.
The first fish was recorded just minutes after the shotgun start and was soon followed by a steady stream of fish.
A new prize this year was a pop-up ice shelter prize donated by 2001 Manitoba Shiners which was won by Kenzie Shamanski. She was participating in her first fishing derby in her life!
The first 30 fishers who registered a fish received an ice fishing rod and reel donated by Quantum Zebco, which were quickly given out.
Midwest Karate Club served up a steady stream of chili, smokies and hot dogs, while on the other side of the centre The Pas Kinsmen satisfied the adult beverage needs of some of the participants.
A special appearance was made by the professional ice fishing team of James and Rene from CKMD radio in Dauphin. Dubbed the Slaughter Under Water, they are making appearances in a number of fishing derbies in the province. While they did not catch a fish, they enjoyed themselves at the event. James commented, “‘We’ve gone to derbies all over Western Manitoba and this was one of the best we’ve experienced. Not only was it a beautiful day and place for fishing, everything was well organized that there was a fun time to be had for all.”
50-50 ticket sales were brisk as were ticket sales on the five augers supplied by Pete’s Pro Tackle.
Fish were caught throughout the derby right until the end with over 70 fish being registered and measured! It was unknown how many fish were caught as the minimum size fish was announced throughout the derby, allowing people to return smaller fish to the water at their holes.
The winning fish was caught at 1:57 p.m. by Steven Yellowega and it stayed in that spot against all contenders! Steve, a well-known person from The Pas, took home $20,000 and was excited about his catch. Steve commented, “Still cannot believe that I was able to pull that one off. I give thanks to first Johanna McLauchlan and to all of the organizers that worked so hard to make the derby such a success. It was a great day with beautiful weather and lots of good laughs. The derby was very well-organized, and I enjoy going every year and will continue to go for years to come.”
The second and third-place fishes were the same size with the second-place prize of $7,000 going to Jaret Ouilette and $3000 prize for third place won by Bernard Dyrkaz of The Pas.
The 50-50 was an astounding $3,788 and was won by Alan Personius who also won the Wilma Walleye side bet!
Dustin Ross from Cross Lake came to his first derby and registered six fish, the most of any fisher in the derby!
Of special note, the 1,000 holes were drilled by just two young men, Rylan Bartley and Tanner Barbeau. The derby organizers had put a call out to a group to drill the holes and these two energetic men took up the call. “One thousand holes? No problem we can do that.” With that statement they started their drilling at noon, finishing up the job as the sun went down. Totally exhausted, they returned the next day with two more friends to “chip out” any ice which had formed overnight. The dedication of these young people has not gone unnoticed by both the organizers and the area as a whole!
The organizing committee would like to thank all the volunteers who helped out with the derby. We had volunteers ranging in age from seven to 88 years! Without this team of unselfish workers this derby would not have happened.
The organizers would also like to thank the many sponsors of the derby, without which we could not have a great derby of this magnitude. Please support the derby sponsors who can be found at www.jimmyjackfish.com
The derby supports several organizations and activities. The majority of the proceeds will go to supporting recycling activities in the area and community enhancements on Rocky Lake East Shore. Organizers would like to thank all who attended. Plans for next year’s derby are well underway.