A great day of ice fishing and a chance to win one of 50 prizes — including some serious cash — brings hundreds of people to the area every March for the Lac du Bonnet Ice Fishing Derby.
The 10th annual event takes place March 5 at 10:30 a.m. at the Lac du Bonnet town dock.
The derby held its ninth annual event back in March, and once again it was a big success — almost 1,000 people came out to enjoy some balmy weather and have a chance at winning something. To win the Top 6 prizes — which include a grand prize of $10,000 — participants must catch a fish. Size doesn’t matter except for one of them (a prize awarded for the biggest fish) — the derby is based on a hidden length and time, so even a tiny fish can be the big winner.
But you don’t have to catch a fish at all to be eligible to win the other 44 prizes, which include goodies like ice augers, electric smokers and more. This year, Winnipeg’s Duane McLennan caught the winning grand prize fish, which came in at 66 centimetres. Because it just so happened to be the biggest one caught at the derby this year, he also won for the biggest fish — taking home a total of $11,000. It was the first time that someone won two major prizes at the event. The only other similar occurrence took place in 2012, when two anglers caught the same size fish at exactly the same time and split the $10,000 grand prize.
“It’s poetic justice,” McLennan said, a big smile on his face as he held his cheque at the awards ceremony. Over 150 volunteers are involved in putting on this event with over 240 hours of their time. Planning for the event starts in September and ends in June, and derby proceeds go back to the Lac du Bonnet community. Over 1,000 holes are drilled by the area high school students, and payment for their time is directed to their graduation fund.
For info on this weekend’s derby, go here.