The Healthy Lake Committee hosted another successful ice fishing derby this past weekend!

The annual derby is the signature event for the committee where funds raised go directly into the Pelican Lake aeration project.  Each year the ice fishing derby is held the first Saturday in March.

This year the committee had to make a few changes, the most significant was the launch of the Fish Donkey App, to register anglers and to record fish caught.

Traditionally, anglers would bring their prize catch of the day in a rubber tote or bucket full of water and drive to the measuring station to get their names and the size of their fish on the board.  Often, those trips would be precarious for both fish and driver.

The changes to Manitoba's possession limits prompted the committee to make changes.  The new rules mandated anglers not to be in possession of a walleye that is over 21 ½ inches, or a northern pike that is over 29 ½ inches.  The reason being that these larger fish are the female egg-layers that keeps fish populations healthy and so to minimize their stress, they need to be returned back down the water hole as soon as possible.

Secretary Treasurer for the Healthy Lake Committee, Charlotte McConnell, says the Fish Donkey App worked very well for its first year in use in Pelican Lake.

"The Fish Donkey App only lets you enter your fish during your derby, but there are a couple of practice tournaments so you can go ahead and get familiar with the App ahead of time," she says.  "The App has what they call 'anti-cheating technology' where everything is geo-tagged and time stamped, and then us as the host can choose what kinds of photos and videos the anglers have to enter with their fish."

Participants were required to submit a hero picture, a bump board picture and then a video showing the release of the fish back down the hole.  "So, that way we know that the fish were being released live."

"We were a little worried just because this is totally new," adds McConnell.  "We were worried that people wouldn't understand the types of photos and videos they'd have to take, but we just posted the information out repeatedly before the derby and almost everyone did it perfectly!"

"We were very happy with how it went, and we had a lot of really good feedback during the day as well, so we'll be using this again going forward," she adds.

There were 649 people registered for this year's ice-fishing derby at Pelican Lake, with the grand prize going to Collin Ayotte with his 107 cm (42.12") northern pike. Approximately $10,000 was raised to go towards the operations of the lake's aeration system.


Northern Pike:

  1. Collin Ayotte 107 cm
  2. Jaden Klassen 104 cm
  3. Blake Morken 102 cm


  1. Tyler Rolfe 68 cm
  2. Jim Legary 66 cm
  3. Aiden Miller 64 cm


  1. Sheldon Moore 34 cm
  2. Armin Gitzel 34 cm
  3. Justin Kelbert 33.5 cm

Visit the healthy lake website for all results on last weekend's derby by clicking HERE!