Category: 2015 Edition

10th Annual Derby This Weekend


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.

Freezin’ for a Reason

Ace Burpee takes part in last year’s Polar Bear Dare.

Manitoba radio and TV personality Ace Burpee says he does a lot of crazy things, but jumping into the freezing-cold water of the Winnipeg River in Lac du Bonnet ranks right up their with some of his wildest exploits, he says.

“It’s intense. Pretty insane. This is the real deal,” he told Discover Lac du Bonnet back in February of 2015 immediately after he took the plunge as part of the fourth annual Polar Bear Dare.

Over 60 people came out to jump into a big hole cut through the ice at the Lac du Bonnet town dock. The annual event raises money for KidSport, a national charity administered by Sport Manitoba that helps to remove barriers and assist less fortunate children to participate in sport. Jumpers raise money leading up to the big day, and can “dare” another person to take the plunge along with them.

Eleven-year-old Meadow Bjorklund from Whitemouth raised $5,148 — the most money raised by an individual jumper. Altogether, over $30,000 was raised for KidSport. Burpee, host of The Ace Burpee Show on 103.1 Virgin Radio, was the first “celebrity jumper” to take part in the Polar Dear Dare, which was started four years ago by Lac du Bonnet’s Trena Taylor.

This year’s event takes place Feb. 20 at the Lac du Bonnet town dock starting at 1 p.m.

For more information on the Polar Bear Dare, visit the event’s Facebook page at