The 1st Annual Healthy Lake Youth Derby, hosted by E & J Live Bait and Mound Wildlife, took place at Pelican Lake on Saturday, March 9th, with 262 youth between the ages of 3 and 14 registered for the event.

Healthy Lake committee treasurer, Charlotte McConnell says they were very pleased with the second half of this year's set of derbies.  "It was really good, and I would call it a great success!  The weather was perfect, and everyone had a lot of fun!"

To accommodate the new format for the March 2nd fishing derby using the Fish Donkey App, the organizing committee decided on dividing the annual derby into two separate events.

"Because we moved to an electronic format for our main derby this year it wasn't very easy to do our free youth division using that format the way we used to do it," explains McConnell. "Plus, everyone needs to have a cell phone in order to use the Fish Donkey App, which we didn't all of the youth coming to our free division would have one.  So, we decided to just split it off on its own derby and it worked really well."

The angling area for the kids' catch and release was 500' x 500' where volunteers measured the fish right at the hole before being released back into the water.

The free derby was an educational event, with opportunities for the youth to learn proper fish handling and sportsmanship, with volunteers from the Pilot Mound Fish and Wildlife Group, as well as from Manitoba Fisheries.

"We had Mound Wildlife come and volunteer and a lot of their members are quite knowledgeable about fishing, and they also enjoy teaching the youngsters about proper fish handling and more," explains McConnell. "So, all of our volunteers that were out there were also helping to give pointers, and they were getting the kids involved in the measuring and the releasing, and proper holding of the fish.  It worked really well that way and we heard lots of great feedback on how much everyone learned. So, it was great!"

Ninette's E & J Live Bait co-sponsored the event, providing a free ice fishing rod & reel to the first 250 youth who registered.  In all having 262 youth registered is more than the organizing committee has had in the past and having the educational aspect for the kids to learn multiple skills by volunteers, including Regional Fisheries Manager Maxime LeGal, was a key component to the day!

With both derbies being a huge success, the organizing committee is looking at continuing this same format for next year. "Splitting into two derbies worked really well," adds McConnell, "and being able to focus on the kids on the second derby, we wouldn't have been able to do that the way we did it before with everything on one day.  As long as we have enough volunteers, we'll be continuing this format going forward!"

McConnell shared a huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped on both Saturdays!

"We had more volunteers at our youth derby than we've ever had at our big derby, so it made the day run so smoothly and it was so helpful to the kids who were fishing!  It's definitely the key to a great event! That, and all the sponsors and all the support from the community!  I just want to say thank you to everybody!"

Reid Hildebrand, the grand prize winner of the 1st Annual Healthy Lake Youth Derby, caught a 79 cm Northern Pike and won a Quest 9.5 Riot Kayak.   

Photos submitted by Health Lake Committee:

  • Reid Hildebrand with his winning fish, a 79cm Northern Pike.
  • Reid with Eric & Jaylene Evans (E&J Live Bait)
  • Reid with his prize, a Quest 9.5 Riot Kayak

Full results are on their website at