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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Annual Walleye Derby reels in great competition, family fun




by Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative

There may have been choppy waters on Saturday morning, which is not unusual for local Lake Erie water, but that didn’t stop the Rotary Club of Harrow from running another successful – and smooth – installment of the Greg Horoky Colchester Walleye Fishing Derby.

Ray Fischer, a member of the Rotary Club of Harrow, estimated around 300 anglers and fishermen launched from the Colchester Harbour early Saturday morning, all hoping to reel in this year’s largest catch.

  And with cash prizes set aside for the top ten entrants, there was plenty on the line.

  Rotarians were at the Colchester Harbour early Saturday morning, preparing breakfast sandwiches and coffee for the 6 am and 7am competition launches. Contestants were to head back to shore with their biggest fish later that afternoon.

  With perfect weather settling in as the morning stretched on, Fischer was happy with the turnout.

  Lisa Fischer, a Past President of the Rotary Club of Harrow, was pleased to note around 125 youths took part in the Kids’ Fishing Derby at the dock. That was a tremendous turnout, and thanks to sponsors, they were all given a Bass Pro Shops hat, a goodie bag filled with treats and coupons to local entertainment venues, and had a chance to take home an item from an expanded prize table.

  In addition, each of the young participants were able to enjoy a hot dog, drink, and bag of chips, all for free.

  Three youths in each of the three age divisions were also awarded with a medal for catching the biggest fish.

  All of that was thanks to the Amherstburg No Frills, Robinson Transport, Hearn Industrial, and Sherway Construction. Without those sponsors, the Kids’ Fishing Derby would not be what it is, Lisa added.

  Fishermen, their families, and any community members were invited to participate in an array of activities onsite at Jackson Park, including a cornhole tournament or shopping in the vendors’ market, while youths could enjoy the bouncy castle and face painting.

  In addition, event-goers were able to listen to live music in the Kinsmen entertainment tent from the Dolson Road Band, while enjoying a Lake Erie perch dinner members of the Gosfield North Sportsmen Association cooked to help support the event.

  Leo Barrette, President of the Gosfield North Sportsmen Association, noted this was the third year his club offered to cook the perch dinner, and members were happy to get involved. He said it is all about helping other clubs to serve the community. In addition, it was also great to support an event that provided so many opportunities for youths.

  The Gosfield North Sportsmen Association continues to host the hunter apprenticeship program, raising and releasing pheasants, and holding its annual wild game dinner. The annual fishing derby would not be possible without the support of sponsors and the efforts of the many volunteers who dedicated themselves to not only executing the event, but planning it as well.

  They are all appreciated, both Ray and Lisa noted.

  Proceeds raised during the event will benefit community projects.

They were happy to report that the 50/50 winner was able to take home $1840.

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