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Nice weather was cherry on top for Bill Bannock Classic Derby


On Saturday the 24th annual Bill Bannock Classic Fishing Derby took place out on Clearwater Lake, it was a time to win a great deal of prizes as well as to enjoy what turned out to be a nice, sunny day with little to no wind.
Bill Bannock is run and hosted by the Rotary Club of The Pas who use it as a community fundraiser every year, giving all the proceeds to community projects or causes.
The top three winners of the Bill Bannock Classic by the end of the derby were Leigh Johnson, who caught a 63.5 centimetre fish and for the effort won a first place prize of $25,000. Trevor Thompson had second place catching a 62.5 centimetre fish to claim $12,500 and in third place was Jeff Koroz, catching a 62 centimetre fish and winning $7,500.
There were about 550 people who took part in Bill Bannock this year, and it turned out quite well according to the organizers.
The oldest fisherman taking part in Bill Bannock was Bob Jackson who is 85-years-old while the youngest was Treyden Jackson who is nine-years-old.
“I think it went well, we had quite a bit of trouble on Friday drilling the holes but by 10:00 (a.m.) Saturday morning everything finished and everything worked out really good. I think the weather certainly changed in our favor and it ended up really nice there,” said Rick Hubbs, Chairperson for the Bill Bannock Classic Fishing Derby.
They had to put in a little extra hard work this year due to the ice being thicker than in past years.
“The thickness of the ice, there were several places in the ice where it was 50 inches and we had some breakdowns in our equipment. We ended up making some phone calls and getting some volunteers out there to help us drill some holes, it ended up working out ok but it was a lot of work,” Hubbs said.
While not everyone caught a fish this year, they certainly enjoyed the atmosphere out on Clearwater Lake.
“The last eight years I’ve been coming here I haven’t caught nothing yet, I’m still back,” said Emile Sinclair, a fisherman taking part in Bill Bannock.
The second place winner before the derby ended also had a few words to say.
“I love the Bill Bannock. I come here and the Flinty (Flin Flon Rotary’s annual fishing derby) all the time,” said Trevor Thompson, a fishermen from Flin Flon, who adds at that point he was the “the only (one to catch a fish) so far and I missed three.”
The volunteers at Bill Bannock were also having fun.
“I thought there was going to be more wind, said Andrea Moerike, Northern Manitoba Trappers’ Festival Second Princess who was out helping out the Rotary Club of The Pas. “It’s super nice, the weathers really warm.”
One person who was struggling to catch a fish did catch a pun or two while waiting for a bite, saying, “I’d like to catch a fish, but that’s fishful thinking.”
Hubbs also thanked all the volunteers for their work, saying “it was just tremendous.”

Trevor Wright