The staff behind Stettler’s Regional Board of Trade (BOT) are hard at work behind the scenes to bring new projects to the region, making it a true tourist destination.
Currently, a committee under the BOT is planning the Big Jack Classic ice-fishing derby on Buffalo Lake over the Family Day weekend in February.
Planned for Feb. 18 and 19 of the long weekend, Feb. 20 has also been marked as an alternative date if one of the two first days has to be postponed due to weather.
Registration is to be done online through the Angler’s Atlas website, and is being run using that website’s app.
An on-site registration office will be set up at the Rochon Sands Community Hall and open beginning Feb. 17 at 4 p.m. and will be open through the weekend.
Anglers taking part in the competition must stop by the registration office to pick up a welcome package which includes an official measuring tool, as home made tools will not be allowed for the competition.
According to BOT executive director Byron Geddes, there is currently $4,000 worth of prizes up for grabs, though if sponsorships continue that number could climb.
“I think it’s going to be good,” said Geddes.
The fishing derby is split into two categories, a junior and a senior.
In the Junior category, 17-years-old and younger, first place price will be $400 for the longest catch, and $200 for the runner up.
For the senior category, ages 18 and older, top prize will be $2,000 for the longest fish, with $750 going to second and $250 going to third.
In addition, two $100 random prizes will be awarded each day of the derby.
On Feb. 19, a banquet will be held for all the participants, with final details still to be worked out.
All catches are to be submitted via the MyCatch app, and as the derby is catch and release only, all photos must be accompanied with videos of the fish being released back into the lake. As per the rules, only barb-less hooks are allowed for the event and each angler is allowed a maximum of two lines.
Participants are allowed to set up anywhere on the lake they want, excluding the narrows. The lake can be accessed from Rochon Sands, White Sands, Pelican Point, Scenic Sands, and Lake Bend Road.
Anglers are allowed to set up huts and tents for shelter, but participants must allow their inspection by committee members if requested and everything, including all garbage, needs to be removed at the end of the event.
“We’re doing our part to not be negatively impactful on the environment,” said Geddes.
“This is going to be a long-standing event; another event the Board of Trade can be proud of.”
For the inaugural event, Geddes says that the committee is hoping for 150 registrants, though he wouldn’t be surprised if there is more, despite competition from events on Sylvan Lake and Cold Lake the same weekend.
“We’re not trying to steal any of their thunder,” said Geddes.
“This is something for the locals, and good for the communities.”
For more information, and a full listing of the rules, check out the event’s website at www.bigjackclassic.ca.