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  • Will there be a 2024 Healthy Lake Ice Fishing Derby?
    Yes! We are proceeding with our derby, with some changes in order to follow the new fishing regulations. The date will be Saturday March 2, 2024 (subject to license approval).
  • How are Manitoba fishing regulations changing how fishing tournaments are run?
    Possession limits and size restrictions apply to fish measured in a fishing tournament unless they are released right back into the water from which they are taken. This means in a traditional fishing tournament where fish are transported a distance to be measured, they are considered to be in the angler’s possession and are part of their limit. Size restrictions also apply. As of April 1, 2023, new size restrictions on Walleye and Northern Pike are in effect. No Walleye over 55 cm and no Northern Pike over 75 cm can be in possession, which means they can’t be measured in a traditional derby. Our derby is a ‘longest fish’ format, and all of our top Walleye and Northern Pike prize winners in the past would have been over these size limits. Therefore these changes in regulations effectively shut down our derby as it has been run for the past 10 years.
  • What will the 2024 derby format be like?
    In order to continue with our ‘longest fish’ style derby, we are going to move to using a fishing tournament app called Fish Donkey to host our derby. These types of apps are becoming increasingly popular in Manitoba and around the world.
  • How does a fishing tournament app work?
    Our derby will be hosted on the Fish Donkey app, and each participant downloads the app onto their smartphone or tablet. Participants register and pay through the app, and at the derby they record and submit pictures/videos of their catches through the app. Doing this allows fish to be released right back into the water they were caught from, therefore they are not considered to be in the angler’s possession.
  • Does every participant need a smartphone?
    Yes, each participant will need to have a smartphone or device (tablet) that can run the app. We realize that this is a limiting factor for some people, and we have tried to come up with alternative solutions. However in order to proceed with a derby we have to use the technology that is available.
  • Will there still be a kids under 15 free category?
    Unfortunately, because everyone participating must have their own device running the app, we are going to remove the free kids under 15 category from the derby. Kids can still participate in the adult category at the regular fee, if they have a device to use that can run the app. To make up for this, we will be holding a separate kids derby with free entry and kids prizes, with the generous help of local community businesses and members. The kids derby will be held the weekend after our main derby, on Saturday March 9, 2024.
  • Can I practice using the app ahead of time?
    Yes, there will be lots of time to practice and get used to the app. You can join practice derbies and enter fish to learn how the process works. We will also have full instructions available, including videos, well before the derby.
  • How will fish be measured?
    We will provide official bump boards that must be used by participants to measure their fish. They will be handed out the morning of the derby, and must be returned at the end of the derby.
  • What is the fish measuring process like with the app?
    The fish measuring process will look something like this, subject to minor changes: once you catch a fish, you place it on the bump board for measuring. Through the app, you will take a few required pictures (full bump board picture, close up of tail with measurement, etc). Then through the app you will take a video of the fish being released. Once the required pictures/video are taken, you enter the measurement and submit your catch. The exact requirements for photos and videos will be detailed closer to the derby. We recommend that you fish with another person if you feel you need help holding the phone for the release video, etc.
  • What if I don’t have very good cell service where I am fishing?
    When you submit a catch through the app, it time stamps it so that even if you don’t have great cell service where you are, once you move to a better service spot your catches will upload with their original time stamps. We are going to recommend that anyone who notices their submitted catches aren’t uploading, to periodically move to a spot where they can get service and upload their catches.
  • What if the app stops working or I have troubles with the app during the derby?
    The app creators have a help line and will be ready for questions during our derby.
  • When will registration open, and what will the entry fee be?
    Registration will open early January and the fee will be announced at that time. The entry fee will be increased from last year in order to cover the cost of using the app. We are going to keep it as affordable as we possibly can.
  • What fish species are included in the derby?
    We are keeping things the same: the three species in the derby will be Northern Pike, Walleye, and Perch. Grand prize will be longest overall fish, with lots of other big prizes awarded like usual. Full details on how prizes are awarded will be in the Official Rules on our website before registration opens.
  • Instead of moving to an app run derby, why can’t you keep in person measuring stations and just do a different format such as mystery time/length? Or have anglers catch fish within the size regulations and do a combined length?
    We have had lots of suggestions like this, and we have discussed these kinds of options at length. The problem with these formats is that derby participants will be trying to catch and bring in their maximum number of fish within the limits in order to have the best chance of winning. This means that with the high number of participants we have in our derby, we would likely end up measuring thousands of fish (we normally measure a few hundred). Logistically this is not feasible for our derby volunteers, and we are also trying to minimize fish handling and prioritize fish health.
  • When will more information be available?
    Read through this entire FAQ for answers to most general questions. Full derby information including registration details, how-to guides for the app, official rules, prize information etc will be available on our website in early January.
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