Wikwemikong 7th Annual Ice Fishing Derby sets entry record

Simon Shawanda is all smiles as he sits atop the $8,000 2015 Polaris Voyager 550 snowmachine he won during a draw at the 7th Annual Wikwemikong Ice Fishing Derby.

WIKWEMIKONG—The ice on Manitowaning Bay in front of Wikwemikong’s Bayside Resort was dotted with portable shacks and canvas chairs as a record 493 entries vied for an impressive slate of prizes that included a 2015 Polaris Voyager 550 snowmachine valued at over $8,000 and a fully ‘pimped’ fish hut with all the trimmings that topped out at over $4,000 in goodies for the first two tagged fish caught. Winnings also included a $3,500 first prize, a $1,700 second prize and $1,300 third prize, as well as a host of other prizes that included sonar kits, a 40-inch television, a nailgun kit and a host of gift certificates to local businesses.

Although the sled and the pimped hut were slated for the first and second tagged fish, since no tagged fish were hauled in over the course of the day, the organizers drew entries for the those prizes from the tagged fish contest entries.

Simon Shawana was beaming from ear-to-ear when he discovered that he was the winner of the 2015 Polaris Voyager 550 snowmachine, but his grin had some strong competition from the smile on eight year-old Noah Callite’s face as he won the $3,500 prize for the top fish of the day with the 3 lb. 14 oz. rainbow he hauled up through the ice and the grin of double winner Jordan Frohlick who not only secured the $4,000-plus ‘Pimped Hut,’ but joined his partner Katelane in winning the couple’s prize.

Carla Nelson hauled in a cool $1,700 for the second largest fish. Her line bent with a 2 lb. 1 oz. rainbow within two minutes of the start of the derby (8:02 am). “I was practically standing beside her,” laughed Wikwemikong Tourism Manager and tournament organizer Luke Wassegijig. “The horn had barely sounded when it was ‘fish on!’

The record cold temperatures did not dampen the spirits of the hopeful fisherfolk, but the hot chocolate sales were almost as brisk as the wind.
The record cold temperatures did not dampen the spirits of the hopeful fisherfolk, but the hot chocolate sales were almost as brisk as the wind.

Third prize went to another youngster, as Travis Dewar put a sweet $1,300 into his creel with his 1 lb. 13 oz fish. Sadly, none of the fish caught during the derby were tagged. “We will up the game next year,” promised Mr. Wassegijig. “Next year it will be 250 fish going into the water before the tournament.”

The other seven prizes in the top 10 were drawn from among those who entered, with the sonar kit going to Dave Manitowabi, the nailgun kit taken home by William McColm, the recliner will now grace the home of Shirley Moss, the 40-inch television went home with James and Amy Mavec, Tony Lewis secured the Fishbum apparel gift certificates, Simon Shawana (the really big winner this weekend) also took home a $250 gift certificate and Manet Debassige rounded out the top 10 with a Lucky Strike package of fishing lures.

Wikwemikong ice fishing derby poster girl Jessie Wilkin of Little Current, who took home the big prize last year, pulled in the chief and council’s registration prize of a $1,000 Rainbow Ridge Golf Course season pass while Reese Shigwadja hauled in the chief and council’s prize of an overnight stay with dinner in Sudbury.