Wolseley Dam Days has reeled in a new event for 2012, featuring its first-ever Fishing Derby at Fairly Lake.
The Fishing Derby has been made possible through partnership forged between the Dam Days Committee, Main Street Wolseley and key community volunteers.
“One of Main Street’s main objectives is to work with existing community organizations in their efforts,” said Ed Attridge, coordinator of Main Street Wolseley. “Dam Days is a significant event in Wolseley and requested Main Street’s assistance with the planning of daytime events.”
“We want to promote Wolseley and elevate the awareness of our town,” he continued. “Dam Days, being a long-time event, is a fundamental part in the promotion of Wolseley.”
Wolseley Dam Days first began in 2005 as part of the provincial Centennial celebrations. Mayor Dennis Fjestad said the celebration continued into the following years because of the strong attendance and participation.
“It’s been very, very successful,” Fjestad said of the celebration. “The whole community really supports this event.”
This year’s most highly anticipated event is the three-day Fishing Derby held at Fairly Lake.
“Our lake has been a significant feature of Wolseley for more than 100 years,” said Fjestad. “We are very excited about our upcoming Fishing Derby during our Dam Days weekend. We hope that many people will come and enjoy all the events of the weekend and take in the fun of fishing.”
Joel Kempfer, key coordinator and volunteer for the Fishing Derby, explained that Fairly Lake has been stocked with 1,000 rainbow trout and 10 prize steelhead trout. The rainbow trout were purchased from Clean Springs Trout Farm in Roblin, Manitoba, while the steelhead trout were graciously donated by Wild West Steelhead Hatchery on Lake Diefenbaker.
“Our lake doesn’t support fish so a Saskatchewan biologist allowed us to put non-native fish in there for our Fishing Derby,” said Kempfer. “From what I
understand, we’ll be able to do it every year because every winter the fish will die. Our lake just doesn’t support them.”
The Fishing Derby is open to fishermen and women of all ages and is free of cost. The Derby is not catch and release, so anglers must keep all fish that are caught.
“There’s no limit so catch as many fish as you want to catch,” said Kempfer, adding participants must check out and receive receipt for the fish caught before they leave.
Organizers are still working with homeowners along the lake, though Kempfer said properties will be marked indicating which ones can be accessed and which are restricted.
“The majority of the fishing, I expect, will be down by the swinging bridge area because that’s where the trout seem to congregate; although there are trout all throughout the lake.”
Kempfer said the easiest access for onshore fishing will be the beach area near Garnet Street and in the vicinity of the swinging bridge.
Boats are permitted during the Derby, although they must be 18-feet or under and must be manually propelled. No electric or gas motor boats will be allowed.
“I expect everything to run pretty good,” said Kempfer, adding great interest has been expressed.
“I’ve had calls from as far away as Lethbridge (Alberta) and that was a caravan of five families that are coming out here specifically for the Fish Derby. So, I expect a good crowd and hope everybody has a lot of fun.”
Wolseley Dam Days will be held Aug. 3 to Aug. 5.