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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Hook, line, and sinker: Annual Walleye Derby lures in plenty of competition

by Sylene Argent

With perfect weather early Saturday, many participants launched from the Colchester Harbour to participate in the 30th annual, and much anticipated, Greg Horoky Colchester Walleye Derby.

  This is the largest single day Walleye Derby in Southern Ontario, attracting local anglers and many from afar.

In addition to trying to earn bragging rights, the annual event offered participants a chance to win an array of prizes. There were $5500 in cash prizes up for grabs, which was distributed to the top ten place earners. The biggest fish recorded at the event measured 30 5/8 inches.

  Those in attendance were also able to try their chance at taking home a door prize or win the grand raffle prize, a GPS and fish finder.

  Following the derby, participants and those in attendance could enjoy a perch and chips dinner and live entertainment from Bigg Wiggle later that evening.

  In addition, the event also offered the annual kids’ fishing derby, which gave youth, accompanied by a parent or guardian, a chance to cast a line from the docks. This catch and release opportunity allows young anglers the opportunity to get out and enjoy the outdoors, and learn a lifelong respect for nature.

  Youths had a chance to win prizes in their respected age groups, based on who caught the biggest fish.

  Annually, the Rotary Club of Harrow hosts and sponsors the derby. Rotarian Greg Harrison said the event did not take place the previous two-years, due to COVID, so organizers were excited to get things underway last weekend.  

  He thanked all the volunteers who rolled up their sleeves to ensure the event was a success, in addition to the many sponsors who also showed their support.

  Harrison noted the event is not only a great tournament, where anglers can show off their fishing prowess, it is also a good fundraiser, as proceeds are funneled back into the community through local causes the Rotary Club of Harrow supports, such as for scholarships or foodbanks.

  Rotarian Ray Fischer was extremely happy with the derby presales, which exceeded his expectations. He was also pleased to see the hundreds of families out on the dock that morning taking part in the Kids’ Derby.

  He noted a 50/50 raffle was hosted during the event, which provided the winner and beneficiary each $1145. The proceeds will be forwarded to Erie Shores Hospice in memory of Harrow resident and member of the Harrow Kinsmen, Brandon Bezaire, who recently passed from cancer.

  “It was a huge success,” Fischer said of the derby.

  At the 2007 Colchester Walleye Derby, Colchester was proclaimed the Walleye Capital of Canada.

  For more information about the event, log onto


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