10th annual Wiikwemkoong ice fishing derby giving back

Jim Griffin of Sunsite Estates tries for a big one at the Wikwemikong Ice Fishing Derby (2017)

WIIKWEMKOONG—It’s hard to believe that it has been 10 years since participants in the inaugural Wiikwemkoong Annual Ice Fishing Derby first ventured out onto the ice of Manitowaning Bay in search of a tagged fish and plenty of great prizes. Over the past 10 years the derby has grown by leaps and bounds in popularity and many of those participants have returned year after year.

“This year being our 10th annual derby, we wanted to do something special to give back to all those people who have been supporting us every year,” said Wiikwemkoong Tourism Manager Luke Wassegijig. “You don’t even have to fish to enter the derby because there are lots of prizes to be won just by having a ticket.”

But fishing remains one of the surest ways to the big money. There are three top prizes this year, notes Mr. Wassegijig. “The first prize winner will have a choice of the $10,000 cash prize or the 2017 Polaris Voyageur 550 snowmobile and the pimped hut (value $4,000), while the second prize winner will get whichever prize was not chosen.”

New this year is a special third prize. “We have partnered with AON Insurance and whoever hauls in the third tagged fish they will have a chance at that prize,” he said. “AON Insurance will have a computer generated number and if the third fish drawn has that number, they will win $25,000.” If the number doesn’t match, well there will be more chances than ever this year to win something. There will be 10 individual $1,000 prizes drawn and another top 10 prizes include a first of $3,500, a second of $2,000, a third of $1,500, a fourth prize of a 2018 Rainbow Ridge Golf Course seasons pass, fifth prize is a 58-inch Samsung Smart TV, sixth prize is Humminbird Ice 55 Flasher, seventh is a Generac 3250 generator, eight is a Magnum Strike Master ice auger, ninth is a $250 Home Hardware gift certificate and 10th prize is a Lucky Strike Master gas auger. The early bird prize is $1,000 (you would have had to register by January 20 to qualify for the early bird, but it is always something to remember for next year) and the first 200 registrants qualify for a draw for one free entry to the February 25 Mattagami Pike Tournament.

Not bad for a $100 ticket

If you are reading this before Saturday, February 10 there is still time to register and get in the game, or on the ice at Bayside Resort on Manitowaning Bay as it were. Tickets are available at in Wiikwemkoong at the Wikwemikong Tourism office, Your Dollar Store with More, Complete Auto in Manitowaning, Breakaway Sports and The Manitoulin Expositor in Little Current, Up Top Sports Shop in Mindemoya, Trailside Sports and Nick’s Cat House in Espanola, Ramakkos Source for Sports in Sudbury and Moxy’s Bait and Tackle in Lively.