The sky was overcast as a dusting of the fluffy stuff fell, but the temperature was certainly ideal for the sixth annual Lost Villages Fishing Derby held on Saturday, at Hoople Creek.
Two hundred and seventy-five participants from the region set up camp for the morning, vying for a great time, bragging rights and some pretty serious cash prizes.
“The feedback has been very positive,” said Claude Collette, co-organizer for the tournament along with Ron and Mona Brunet, owners of the Boat House and Bait Shop. “It’s very friendly and fun.”
The concept for tournament, said Collette, was inspired by, and dedicated to Fran Laflamme, a high school teacher, who was a great supporter of his, and who herself was the founder of the Lost Villages Society.
In fact, he added, we were fishing on one of those Villages – Wales.” From season veteran to first timers, participant ran the gamut.
The Simons of Finch, were just having a family fishing day, when they came upon the tournament, while Leo Roy, of Cornwall, and his sons, Ethan and Owen, have participate since the beginning of the tournament.
For their first, but not their last tournament, Chantale Fortin and Pierre Lavergne, came from Ottawa to try their hand at ice fishing.
Mimicking what one might imagine a village would look like way up in the frozen Territories, Hoople Creek, was alive with activity, snow vehicles of all kinds, the aroma of bacon and eggs cooking over a fire, and good will - a truly exemplary Canadian winter’s day.
Grand prize winners for the day included Kevin Cassleman for the largest Pyke ($2500 including lunker); Bill Close Jr. for the largest Pickerel, ($1000) and Jim Roberton for the largest Perch ($500).
There were also mystery weight winners. During the tournament, members of the Lost Villages Society made their way through the group selling 50/50 tickets which raised $1300 in total.
Half of the proceeds will benefit the society. A DVD of the event can be seen at www.longsault.ca.