Hook on to charity ice fishing derby

Two lakes, one Sunday, lots of community benefits

Michels Canada fishing derby

A couple of fishing-friendly businesses want you to drop them a line.

Woods ‘n’ Water and Michels Canada have partnered to offer the public a chance to get reel on the ice. Burns Lake and Tchesinkut Lake are the location options, in this competition, and the date to circle like the circumference of an ice-fishing hole, is Feb. 26. That Sunday morning, registration staff will be on-site at the Francois Lake Community Hall (FLCH) where participants can sign in between 8-9 a.m. You can do prep work at the lake earlier than that, but personal attendance at the Francois Lake pre-event meeting is mandatory.

At 9 a.m., the MyCatch app goes live, which commences the competition. All fish must be recorded into the MyCatch system on your cell phone. Instructions are available in advance. This app not only verifies and quantifies the competition data, it also logs the information for scientific purposes. It is a creative tool by northern B.C. company Angler’s Atlas. Participants must each register this app on their phone in advance.

“This derby is catch and release only,” said Michels spokespeople Allison Ussyk and Brittany Stagg.

“Michels is providing descending devices for those who choose to fish in the lake trout category. Descending devices are recommended to be used when capturing lake trout from depths deeper than 60 feet of water to help prevent risk of barotrauma (depth-change pain). Though lake trout self-burb, it is important for anglers to both utilize and promote conservation practices.”

An approved bumpboard is required, as well. If you don’t have one, they will be provided at the Francois Lake muster.

At 5 p.m., everyone involved is invited back to the FLCH for a celebratory barbecue.

There are several categories with prizes to get your hooks into – Ussyk and Stagg estimate a $25,000 total value.

In return, all the proceeds from the event go to local causes.

“All of it goes back into the community of Burns Lake – local charities are being finalized next week. CGL (Coastal GasLink) is matching all donations up to $10,000 per each donation/charity,” said the Michels team. “The 50/50 will be hosted by the 2023 grad class and the high school has also been making the measure board for the tournament to help fundraise for the archery program.”

After a small summertime fishing derby “just for fun,” according to Ussyk and Stagg, this is the first time for such a major community-all-in fishing fete that Michels has ever hosted. That’s why the pipeline construction company linked up with Woods ‘n’ Water, the experts in the field, er, lake.

They also landed a partner at the Tourist Visitor Centre, home of the Burns Lake Community Centennial organization. The derby is officially dedicated to the 100-year birthday party for Burns Lake.

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