This past Saturday, Jan. 28 was the scene of an organized anglers’ competition held at Oak Lake Resort. Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. eager participants hit the ice to see who could catch the longest Walleye, Perch or Northern Pike at the 11th annual fishing derby. Despite the frigid temperatures and bitter westerly winds, the event was competitive and rewarding.
“We had about 115 registered anglers that day,” says David Houston, fire chief for Oak Lake/Sifton Fire Department. “The number of entrants was down a little from average, but (that) was expected after a two-year hiatus, and the weather.”
Registration took place at the western entrance of Cherry Point, as each contestant awaited their chance to see what they could pull out of the frigid waters. Guidelines for the derby consisted of a “catch and release” format where fish must be transported in water, to the designated check station as soon as they are caught. Immediately after the fish are checked and are healthy and unstressed, they are to be released directly back into the water.
Shacks, tents and heaters were allowed on the ice, along with two rods per person and all active registered anglers must have had a valid fishing license to participate in the derby.
Houston says sponsorship made this derby a success. The proceeds, about $5000, will go towards purchasing and upgrading equipment for the Oak Lake/Sifton volunteer Fire Department.
$500 - 1st Place winner sponsored by: Roger Branum Construction, Valleyview Coop, R.M. of Sifton and Stillwater Adventures
$300 – 2nd Place winner sponsored by: Kreutzer Metals Ltd., John D. Masson Chartered Accountant and Deco’s Corral Cleaning
$100 – 3rd Place winner sponsored by: Fusion Credit Union, Flat Creek Farriers and Taxidermy
Winners for the longest Northern Pike:
1st - Cael Mulligan – Oak Lake – 31 ¼ inches
2nd - Jayare Gardiner – Virden – 29 ¼ inches
3rd - Kelly Soder – Elkhorn – 28 ¼ inches
Winners for the longest Walleye:
1st - Wyatt Moore – Killarney – 19 ½ inches
2nd - Ryan Foley – Brandon – 19 inches
3rd - Jayare Gardener – Virden – 16 ½ inches
Winners for the longest Perch:
1st - Rick Wieler – Brandon – 12 ½ inches
2nd - Mark King – Crystal City – 11 ¾ inches
3rd - Colton Calcut – Shilo – 11 inches
Carson Penner – Oak Lake