Celebrating Family Day at Wilgress Lake fishing derby

Byron Goch said he simply got hungry!
Organizer Doug Arnott with third-place Under 16 derby winner Marcus Manseu. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)
(Left) Dennis Waddell said that while he wasn’t having much luck with catching fish, he was having a good time enjoying the community of ice fishers out on the lake.
Doug Arnott (right) presents a prize and trophy to first place adult derby winner, John Paul (JP) Fournier (left), whose fish was the largest caught weighing 2 pounds, 4 ounces.
The kids (under 16) derby winners.
Doug Arnott (right) presents a prize and trophy to Under 16 derby winner, Stephan D’Appeloni (left), whose fish weighed 1 pound, 5 ounces.
John Paul Fournier with his prize-winning fish. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)
Erica McCluney shot a snow snake down the track. The Indigenous game challenges participants to launch their wooden “snake” the farthest.
“Tea boiling” was a popular game that challenged the teams to build a fire and get their water to a rolling boil as fast as possible.
Chili, hot dogs and more helped keep fishers warm and fed. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)
Nail-driving was an ongoing game for kids and adults – drive your nail into wood the fastest to win.
Grr! Pictured, Mike Richter. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)
Damien Manseau (centre), pictured with Aadyn (right) and Marcus (left), won Saturday’s tea boiling competition and, as it turns out, won it for fastest overall for the weekend. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

The annual Wilgress Lake Family Fishing Derby was reel-y fun for the whole family over the weekend.

Hosted by the Boundary Community Metis Association, the two-day derby invited people to ice fish at Wilgress Lake, in the hopes of reeling in a winner. In addition to fishing, games and activities ran throughout the days.

The winners of the derby are:

Under 16

First place: Stephan D’Appeloni (catch: 1 pound, 5 ounces)

Second place: Josh Hlookoff

Third place: Marcus Manseau


First place: JP Fournier (catch: 2 pounds, 4 ounces)

Second place: Jerry Lalonde

Third place: Doug Bannert

The other activities also included a tradition Indigenous “snow snake” game, wherein wooden “snakes” and launched down a snow trough; and “tea boiling,” where teams of four had to build a fire and boil a can of “tea” (in this case, water) over a fire, and the first team to bring their water to a rolling boil wins.

Cash prizes were awarded for the fishing derby; adult winner JP Fournier took home $150 and a CannaFest weekend pass; the games also had prizes and the chance to be drawn for a participation prize.

Overall, the derby had 125 registered participants, including 35 kids. Doug Arnott stepped up to be the lead organizer for the event this year for the first time, after last year’s event was cancelled. Arnott said he hopes the event continues to grow, and bring even more kids out to the lake to try ice fishing and other activities next year.

The organizers of the fishing derby send out a big thank you to all of the volunteers and sponsors who helped make this event possible – especially the outdoor leadership class from GFSS who came out to the lake on Thursday to help shovel off the ice and create the snow snake track. A big thank you to all involved!

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