Annual ice fishing derby nets crowd

Payton Robertson holds up her fish caught during the ice fishing derby. Robertson was participating for her second year alongside her father who grew up in the area fishing Last Mountain Lake. Photo by Sarah MacMillan.

Vehicles dotted the ice of Last Mountain Lake as people of all ages gathered to participate in an annual Regina Beach tradition.

With fishing rods in hand, 129 people entered to participate in the ninth annual Family Fun Ice Fishing Derby hosted by the Regina Beach and District Lions Club March 4.

Following registration Saturday morning, the ice fishing event kicked off at 11 a.m., participants of all ages casting their lines to try and reel in a winning fish. Fishermen aimed to bring in at least one of five species of fish in the catch and release derby. Participants were angling to catch tullibee, pike, perch, walleye and burbot. Cash prizes were available for the first fish caught, largest fish and a hidden weight in each category, fifteen prizes in total.

Out on the ice, hungry fishermen and spectators were able to enjoy barbecue provided by the local fire department.

At 2 p.m. a siren marked the end of the fishing derby. Over the three hours, competitors caught 14 fish— five tullibee, seven pike, one walleye and one perch.

Reeling in one of the day’s fish was Chris Robertson and his daughter Payton. Payton was participating in the derby for her second year, and the fish marked her second catch, the Regina resident also bringing in a fish last year.

The largest catch of the day was a 4.23 kilogram pike. Winning the largest fish in the tullibee class was a fish weighing in at .65 kilograms. A perch weighing .19 kilograms claimed an angler both the prize of first caught and largest fish in the perch category, and a walleye weighing .39 kilograms netted the same two prizes in the walleye category.

Though fish were not caught in all categories, the Lions club awarded all cash prizes, drawing names of lucky participants.

The event also included door prizes, a trailer lined with donated items. Regina Beach and District Lions Club president Terry McAleese estimated the prizes included 30 to 40 fishing rods.

Each youth registered in the event had the chance to pick an item. This year’s derby drew 19 children.

“For us the exciting part is the more kids the better,” said McAleese.

All proceeds from the annual event go to support youth sports within the community.

The event drew fishing enthusiasts from the local area as well as communities such as Moose Jaw.

McAleese said planning for next year’s derby is already in the works.

The next fishing event at the beach will be the club’s annual Walleye Classic. Last year’s event drew 112 entries from across Western Canada as well as competitors from the United States. McAleese estimated the event has already had 20 to 30 individuals register.