Trout derby slated

Over the past three years, I’ve been fortunate to be down in Florida in late January getting ready for the FLW Tour season to start up.
For the past few years, my first tournament of the year has taken place the first week of February.
It’s been great to get to fish in the boat in February in Florida, but I’ve missed out on what was a tradition since high school with my buddies in Sioux Narrows: participating in the annual lake trout derby on Regina Bay.
Put on by Crystal Harbour Resort, this tournament has been going on for more than 20 years. Though it used to be a two-day event, with fishing hours from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. each day, it now is a one-day shoot-out with anglers trying to catch the biggest trout of the day to win some prize money.
At the end of the day, all anglers receive a free steak dinner at Crystal Harbour.
Back when I was in high school, I always spent this weekend in Sioux Narrows with my buddies, Mike Reid and Jess Swenson. We always caught a bunch of fish and have a lot of good memories from over the years.
This year the tournament is taking place this Saturday (Jan. 31). The entry is $50/person and prizes will be awarded for the biggest fish caught (there also is a mystery weight prize).
My wife, August, and some of our friends are headed down from Kenora for the weekend and we have a cabin rented from my buddy, Matt Rydberg, at Crawford’s Camp.
We have good day of fishing to look forward to and a couple of nights of hanging in one of Matt’s cabins. Guaranteed fun!
This is a live-release tournament where trout are brought to the scale at Crystal Harbour Resort immediately after being caught. Anglers need to bring a cooler with them and when they catch a fish, they transport it in a cooler to the scale.
Although trout are known for being a relatively fragile fish, they handle great in the cold water. If anglers have water in the cooler, ready to go, I’ve never seen any fish have problems.
Dead fish are not eligible to be weighed so everybody takes care of the fish they catch.
Anglers only can fish in Regina Bay so they are confined to a relatively small area, but there is a plenty of good water for anglers to fish.
It should be noted that Regina Bay is a barb-less hook only area and no fish parts can be used for bait (artificial tackle only).
Fortunately, these trout usually are pretty active and can be caught on traditional trout gear like white tube jigs, fluke-style minnow baits, spoons, and bucktail jigs.
For anglers interested in fishing the derby, you can sign up Saturday morning and then head out on the ice.