The 11th annual Elliot Lake Ice Fishing Derby will have hooks under the ice on Horne Lake on Feb. 17. Access to Horne Lake is by the Miners Memorial Park on Highway 108.
The entry fee this year has jumped from $100 to $113 because of the HST. There is a limit of two holes per angler.
Darla Hennessey, heading up the ice-fishing derby, says they had to up the price this year.
“It’s because it’s not a lottery; it’s an event that the city is putting on. And last year, we had to pay out the HST after the event.”
The extra cost resulted in the ice-fishing derby seeing a bit of a loss in 2017.
However, the addition of the HST does not appear to be affecting the ticket sales.
Hennessey says as of Thursday, Jan. 25, they sold 208 tickets, which is a little ahead of advance ticket sales last year.
Teresa Dunlop, Elliot Lake’s manager of tourism and culture, says last year they pre-sold 273 tickets.
In the final days before the derby, they sold 199 for total of 472 tickets.
In 2017, anglers came from as far as Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Cambridge, St. Catharines, Barrie, Peterborough, Marathon, Manitoulin Island, Ottawa, as well as Michigan, Elliot Lake to participate in the ice fishing derby.
The derby’s first prize is half of the money taken in from the ticket sales.
The winner of last year’s Elliot Lake Ice Fishing Derby was Greg Solomon of Garden River First Nation, near Sault Ste. Marie. He won with a 56-centimetre (22-inch) pike. His prize was $23,600.
The second prize this year is an ATV.
But the prizes don’t stop there. The top 10 anglers’ catches are guaranteed a prize. The prizes could include: an ice hut, a gas auger, a generator and more. In addition, other prizes will have random draws, which would include gift cards, gasoline cards, a fireplace to name a few.
The prizes will be awarded at the Miners Memorial Park.
Registration is at the Elliot Lake Welcome Centre (on Highway 108). Participants can also register via telephone using a credit card by calling the civic centre during regular hours at 1-800-661-6192 or 705-848-2287 ext. 2406. Registration can also be done at the Elliot Lake Trading Post. However, it is cash only.
Registrations will be accepted at the Welcome Centre until 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 17.
The first 100 entries will be allowed on the ice at 9 a.m.; numbers 101-200 will be allowed on the ice at 9:30 a.m.; numbers 201-300 will be allowed on the ice at 10 a.m.; and numbers 301-400 on the ice at 10:30 a.m. All others will have access to the Horne Lake ice at 11 a.m.
The holes will be pre-drilled on Friday by students from Elliot Lake Secondary School.
Hennessey says the ice fishing derby is not only for those who are physically able. Anglers with disabilities are also welcome to participate.
Rather than having to park a great distance from the Miners Memorial Park, those with disabilities can park at the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre and will be driven to the park. To use parking and shuttle service, the person must have a provincially issued handicap card.
And by informing organizers ahead of time or at registration at the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre, North Shore Search and Rescue volunteers will ferry them to and from their fishing holes.
The North Shore Search and Rescue will also be on hand for first aid.
The derby is catch and release and the size of the fish will be by length. Participants under the age of 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Only anglers are permitted on the ice.
When anglers catch a fish, they have to get their catch to the closest judging table, of which there will be seven spread throughout the fishing area.
Anglers must follow all provincial fishing regulations.
The official recorder for the fishing derby is Meghan Vansanten.
Since the derby’s inception in 2007, a total of $232,700 has been given out in first prizes alone.