Bill Bannock Ice Fishing Derby
One of the largest Derbies in Manitoba’s North, The Bill Bannock Ice Fishing Derby, is set to take place for its 26th annual event on the 4th of April, 2020. This derby, put on by The Rotary Club of The Pas, is unique in many ways. Including the legitimate chance at hooking into a giant Clearwater Lake, Master Angler lake trout. Not to mention the Amazing first place prize of $25,000 for the longest Lake Trout of the derby. As well as over 100 prizes totally in excess of $75,000. Each year hundreds of anglers from all across the province, and even Canada make their way north to Clearwater Lake to participate in this event.
In just a week’s time, on March 17th, is the early bird ticket sales deadline for the Bill Bannock Ice Fishing Derby. Getting your tickets before the deadline allows anglers to fish from one of the “Superholes”, which we will talk about in more detail below.
There are many amazing prizes up for grabs at this years Bill Bannock ice Fishing Derby. First place is an extraordinary $25,000 for the longest fish catch by a lucky angler. Even second and third place still take home a staggering $10,000 and $5,000 respectively. Just these prizes alone is enough to bring people from far and wide to Clearwater Lake just outside of The Pas Manitoba. Not to mention the remaining $35,000 of prizes still up for grabs!
On the ice there will also be an amazing 50/50 draw, as well as an ATV draw in addition to the top fish prizes!
A week before the Bill Bannock Ice Fishing Derby, three lake trout are caught, tagged, and then released back into the lake. The day prior to the derby, the insurance company will pick one of the three tags. Which ever tag they pick, the corresponding fish becomes “Lonesome Mary”. If Lonesome Mary is caught during the derby, the lucky angler will win a whopping $25,000!
In the past, an angler was fortunate enough to hook into and land Lonesome Mary during the derby, and were fortunate enough to claim the rewards from that lucky catch!
Rotary Wheel and Superholes
Unique to the Bill Bannock Derby, is the design of the fishing area. Shaped like the wheel in the logo of the Rotary Club of The Pas. It truly sets the derby apart from others. The design has 6 huge spokes of holes. The holes within the spokes is where contestants with regular tickets will fish out of. The holes here are closer together and some consider them the lower percentage spots.
The massive expanses in-between each spoke, as well as the end of each spoke, are where the “Superholes” are located. Early bird ticket holders get access to these superholes. Each superhole area has 5 superhole boxes of 10 holes. Anglers prefer the superhole areas over the regular hole areas because they are more secluded. They also believe they have an increased chance at catching a lake trout.
All the information regarding the superholes and so much more can be found on the billbannock.com website!
The Bill Bannock Ice Fishing Derby is put on yearly by the Rotary Club of The Pas. Numerous volunteers from various organizations in the community help make the derby a success every year. Before the derby begins volunteers help drill as many as 1,500 holes before the event to make sure everything is ready to go for derby day. The 2020 derby marks the 26th annual of the event. Each year the derby raises in excess of $30,000, 90% of which is donated back into the community for various community projects.
Tickets for the derby will be available art various retailers around The Pas. However, anglers do have the option of purchasing their tickets online here.
Pump House Point on Clearwater Lake, across from The Pas Airport is where you will find the event. This is just 30km’s from The Pas Manitoba. Lake trout are the main fish species to catch at the derby. However, the odd burbot and whitefish will bite as well. The most common lure of choice during the derby, is a ½-2 ounce jig with a piece of sucker on it.
At 8:00am on April 4th, the main gate to the derby is open. It’s at this time, anglers will get all checked in and can enter the staging area. Anglers can enter the fishing area at 9:30am. First to enter will be the early bird ticket holders finding their places in the “Superhole” locations. Quickly following that, all other regular ticket holders will enter the field of play and find their places at the regular holes located in the ‘spokes’ of the rotary wheel. Fishing will then start at 10:30am and will continue through to 2:00pm. Shortly after the fishing concludes, prizes will be given out at the centre hub of the derby site.
Throughout the action-packed day of fishing, there will also be a food and refreshment bar available from the centre hub.
Come on down to the legendary Bill Bannock Ice Fishing Derby on April 4th, to enjoy a family friendly, fun-filled day on the ice! All holes are pre-drilled, you just have to show up with your gear and prepare for coming home $25,000 richer. See you on the ice!
For more rules, prizes and ticket information on the Bill Bannock Classic Ice Fishing Derby, visit the Bill Bannock Website.
For more information about ice fishing in Manitoba, visit our Ice Fishing page.
*Protect Manitoba’s water and resources. Stop aquatic invasive species. For more information on how to do your part visit the Sustainable Development AIS page.