Town & Country

December 2018

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Editor: Pat St. Germain – TRAINING GROUND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AT UCN T H O M P S O N THE WHITE STUFF CREATING A WINTER TOURISM STRATEGY S N O W L A K E RADIO WAVES NORTH COUNTRY HOST SETTLES IN T H O M P S O N T H O M P S O N 2020 VISION PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE PG 2 PG 3 PG 4 PG 6 PG 5 WILD IDEAS VISION TAKING SHAPE AT BOREAL DISCOVERY CENTRE T H O M P S O N Country Town M A N I T O B A & Saturday, December 1, 2018 NORTHERN EDITION Recent grand prize winner Kelly Lavis (right) is among the fishers who have flocked to the ice to catch a big one — make that a giant one — in The Flinty Fishing Derby. PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE FLINTY WHY LYNN LAKE IS THE SPORTFISHING CAPITAL OF MANITOBA. WHY LYNN LAKE IS THE SPORTFISHING CAPITAL OF MANITOBA. W ith clean lakes speckling the landscape and pristine rivers meandering throughout the area, the Lynn Lake area is home to some of Canada's biggest trout, pike, and pickerel. And with rolling eskers and the untamed northern boreal forest making up the rest of the landscape, the majestic beauty of nature in every glance will exceedyour imagination. Local lodges offera wide range of services, and free camping is available at two roadaccessible campgrounds complete with boat launches. And if you can't wait until summer to visit, the area is blessed with naturalbeauty year- round, "which our local tourism operators and outfitters would love to share with you. Whatever your outdoors pleasure, Lynn Lake awaits 'At the end of the road'. Brochures: Call (204) 356-2418 or visit See for yourself B Y J A R E D S T O R Y W hat's better than one ice-fishing derby? Two ice-fishing derbies. Two northern Manitoba derbies have been teaming up in recent years to lure anglers in greater numbers, and from farther afield. The 25th annual Bill Bannock Classic is set for April 6, 2019 on Clearwater Lake at The Pas. The next day, fishers can drop a line at The Flinty, the fifth annual ice-fishing tournament at Bakers Narrows on Lake Athapap, just south of Flin Flon. The derbies each offer a grand prize of $25,000, as well as a plethora of other potential winnings. And the angler who enters both derbies and catches the greatest total length of fish wins a combination prize of $2,500. There are $1,500 and $1,000 prizes for second and third place. "Our thinking is we want to attract people to the North," says Glenn Smith, former chair of The Flinty. "It's a fairly long drive for one derby, you'd have to be pretty dedicated. But if you think, 'Hey, we could go up there and do two derbies on the weekend.' And it's big money, close to $200,000 in total prizes. We know there are other big derbies out there too, so that's why we did it." In addition to fish, anglers are reeling in cash for the host communities. The Bill Bannock Classic is presented by The Rotary Club of The Pas, and The Flinty is organized by The Rotary Club of Flin Flon. Rick Hubbs, a Rotarian and chair of the Bill Bannock Classic, says all of the proceeds from the two derbies go to charity and community improvement projects. "Over 90 per cent goes back to the community," says Hubbs, noting that the Bill Bannock Classic usually raises between $40,000 and $60,000. "We just gave a bunch of money for an outdoor rink. We've got the pavement done and now we're looking at boards and lighting. We're also involved in a splash pad and a skate park. "We finished the walking path around The Pas, along with the Kinsmen and the Town of The Pas. We've done two parks, and we're just redoing the benches in one park, putting in concrete benches and tables. And we just took Rotary International exchange students to Churchill to see the polar bears." Smith, also a Rotarian, says The Flinty tournament usually makes about $20,000. In Flin Flon, that money is currently going toward a new health centre and a senior housing complex. Bill Bannock and Flinty proceeds not spent in The Pas and Flin Flon go toward Rotary International projects in developing countries, such as water wells, school construction, literacy projects, disaster relief and polio eradication. "We're fortunate to be Canadians," Smith says. "Many people weren't fortunate to be born in the right place at the right time. We've got enough, we can share." Hubbs says the biggest fish ever caught at the Bill Bannock Classic was a monster 43.5-inch lake trout. He says Bill Bannock catches are usually lake trout, with the odd burbot, whitefish, tullibee and sucker being pulled out of the ice. Catching the biggest fish of the day nets an angler $25,000, but so does another, much more mysterious fish — Lonesome Mary. "About a week before the derby, three lake trout are caught, tagged and released. The day prior to the derby the insurance company tells us which of the tags qualifies to win the prize," says Hubbs, noting that Mary has only been caught once in 25 years. At Flinty, Smith says catches tend to be in five species — lake trout, walleye, northern pike, and lake whitefish. He says the largest fish ever caught was a 42-inch trout, followed by a pike that measured over 40 inches. Flinty used to have its own version of Lonesome Mary, a jackfish by the name of Missing Mickey, but organizers have since opted for a less elusive catch. "Some real avid derby goers asked 'How come we can't fish two holes?' because by law you can ice fish two holes," Smith says. "We thought 'We can do that,' but when we offer two holes, you can't do a tag fish. They won't insure it. So, we replaced the tag fish with a hidden length fish. The tag fish at Bill Bannock, it's $25,000, but it's went once in 25 years. The hidden length fish, it's $2,500, and it goes every year." Smith says both derbies rely on a host of community sponsors and volunteers. "When you do the derby, it's heartwarming to see the response you get from just about everybody, not just sponsors donating money and product, but the people coming out and helping," Smith says. "The Rotary Club, we're the key organizer, but we're not the only people working it. We have all kinds of people from the community coming out and helping us. It's pretty special." Hooked on Ice Fishing Back-to-back derbies and combination prizes lure anglers to northern lakes For more information about the Bill Bannock Classic and The Flinty, including prize and ticket details, visit and

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