Big fish being reported in Western Manitoulin waters

Father and son duo Brian and Noah Coyne show off their 21.1 pound Chinook salmon that won them (and fellow teammate Rolly Mirault) first place at the third annual Providence Bay Fishing Derby.

First Expositor Salmon Classic Derby ends Sunday

MANITOULIN—With this being the last week of the Manitoulin Expositor Salmon Classic, it is recommended that fishermen hit the Western Manitoulin waters to catch the really big fish.

“All the big fish are now coming in from Gore Bay and the North Channel, Clapperton Island across and down through Meldrum Bay,” stated Dave Patterson, derby organizer, on Tuesday. “Ian Anderson and his son Erik caught a 20-pound chinook salmon and a 13-pound rainbow trout respectively, last week.”

“Reports I received last (Monday) night from one fisherman is that he is seeing large schools of smelt in the waters and every fish being caught now has four or five inch smelts in it,” said Mr. Patterson. “The fish coming in right now from the North Channel seem to be fatter,” he said, acknowledging, however, the biggest fish (in terms of weight) caught in the derby was from the south shore of Manitoulin.

The derby leaderboard shows, from one to fifth place, the heaviest fish caught so far have come from, in order: South Baymouth, Providence Bay, Gore Bay, Gore Bay and Meldrum Bay. “There are a lot of fish—big fish—being caught on Western Manitoulin. I know if I could go in the tournament that is where I would be fishing,” said Mr. Patterson.

Last week’s mystery weight winner was Michel Henri, who won the 15,000 BTU Broil King propane smoker courtesy of Jake’s Home Centre, with his 16.75 pound salmon. The mystery weight was 16.42 pounds.

On the current leaderboard, Richard Roick of Ottawa is leading the way with a salmon caught in South Baymouth weighing 22.75 pounds. Second is Kevin Boyd, a 21.69 pound catch in Providence Bay, third is Neil McNally with a catch of 20.08 pounds in Gore Bay. Fourth is Ian Anderson with a 20.04 pound catch in Gore Bay, while Al Murdock is fifth with a fish weighing 19.45 pounds caught in South Baymouth.

The prize for the heaviest trout currently, 15.33 pounds, is Brian Coynes’ brought in to Providence Bay.

Mr. Patterson predicts the winning fish will be 25-plus pounds and be taken from the West End or the North Channel. He pointed out between 600-700 tickets have been sold for the derby and the entrants are coming from everywhere, Quebec, the US, particularly Michigan and Ohio, around Ontario and even Fort McMurray, Alberta.

“Hopefully all the interest and additional people on the Island will help stimulate the economy,” said Mr. Patterson. “I started this fishing competition because I saw a need to help bring some tourism dollars back to Manitoulin. I wanted to get the locals out fishing again and bring the fishermen back to the Island.

Ticket sales for the derby close today (Friday, August 12 at midnight) and the scales close on Sunday, August 14 at noon, with the official prize giveaways to take place that same day at 2 pm at the Providence Bay marina. Light snacks and refreshments will be served.

“We will be giving away $25,000 in cash prizes,” said Mr. Patterson, who also noted, “we will be making a major announcement about next year’s derby on Sunday.”

Derby tickets are just $60 and can be purchased at or at the following locations: the Expositor Office in Little Current, Up Top Sports Shop in Mindemoya, The Manitoulin West Recorder office in Gore Bay, Trail Side Sports in Espanola, Moxy’s Bait and Tackle on Regional Road 55 near Whitefish and Ramakko’s Source for Adventure on Regent Street South in Sudbury.