The staff behind the Stettler Regional Board of Trade (BOT) are working hard behind the scenes to bring new projects to the region, making it a true tourist destination.
A BOT committee is currently planning the Big Jack Classic Ice Fishing Derby on Buffalo Lake during Family Day weekend in February.
Scheduled for the long weekend on February 18 and 19, February 20 has also been earmarked as an alternative date if either of the first two days has to be postponed due to weather.
Registration must be done online through the Angler’s Atlas website and is being run through the application on this website.
A registration office will be set up in the Rochon Sands Community Hall and will open from 17th February at 4pm and will be open over the weekend.
Anglers participating in the competition will need to stop by the registration office to pick up a welcome packet that includes an official measuring tool, as homemade tools will not be allowed for the competition.
According to BOT Executive Director Byron Geddes, there are currently $4,000 worth of prizes, although if sponsorships continue, that number could increase.
“I think it’s going to be fine,” Geddes said.
The fishing derby is divided into two categories, a junior and a senior.
In the Junior category, ages 17 and up, the first place prize will be $400 for the longest catch and $200 for second place.
For the senior category, over 18, the first prize will be $2,000 for the longest fish, with $750 for second and $250 for third.
Additionally, two random $100 prizes will be awarded each day of the derby.
On February 19, a banquet will be held for all participants, with the final details still to be determined.
All catches must be submitted through the MyCatch app, and since the derby is catch-and-release only, all photos must be accompanied by video of the fish being released back into the lake. According to the rules, only barbless hooks are allowed for the event and each angler has a maximum of two lines.
Participants can set up anywhere on the lake they like, except for the narrows. The lake can be accessed from Rochon Sands, White Sands, Pelican Point, Scenic Sands and Lake Bend Road.
Anglers may set up huts and tents for shelter, but participants must allow their inspection by committee members if requested and everything, including all rubbish, must be removed at the end of the event
“We’re doing our part to not have a negative impact on the environment,” Geddes said.
“This will be a long-running event; another event of which the Board of Trade can be proud.”
For the inaugural event, Geddes says the committee expects 150 registrants, though he wouldn’t be surprised if there were more, despite competition from events in Sylvan Lake and Cold Lake on the same weekend.
“We’re not trying to steal any throne from him,” Geddes said.
“This is something for the locals and good for the communities.”
For more information and a complete list of rules, see the event website at www.bigjackclassic.ca.
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