Dad helps youngster land derby crown

Hailey Heyens owes her dad one heck of a Father’s Day gift next month.
The youngster bagged the biggest walleye at the eighth-annual Stratton fishing derby Satur-day—with a little help from her father, Ted.
“He actually hooked it on,” said Heyens, 12, on catching the 3.8-pounder in the Rainy River while also fishing with her mom, Wanda, and brothers, Theo and Cody.
“I helped net it in and he gave it to me.”
When asked whether she had a problem collecting the $200 prize, the Stratton native replied “not really.”
Kelvin Caul, Breyden Kreger, and Julie Smits all tied for second in the walleye division with three-pounders while Brady Heyens, Cassidy Teeple, and Bill Leftbridge tied for third (2.9 pounds each).
Dwayne Schram, Dale Strachan, Cliff Shute, Terry Lee, and Shelley Caul rounded out the top four with 2.7-pounders.
In the northern pike division, Bill Romyn came out on top with a four-pound fish, followed by Robert Anderson (3.5), Lisa Bolen (2.7), and Ryan O’Connor (2.6).
“That’s my personal best. It’s got to be some kind of beginner’s luck,” remarked Romyn, who fished with John Vandenbrand and was very hush-hush on where he caught it.
Tim Romyn was the only participant to bring back a bass (1.9 pounds).
The festivities were a part of the “fun derby” organized by Stratton’s rec council to usher in the walleye season.
Just over 200 anglers—young and old—from Rainy River, Fort Frances, Emo, Stratton, Barwick, and even Thunder Bay and Winnipeg took part in the event, which started at 9 a.m. and ended with the weigh-in at 4 p.m.
A barbecue capped off the day.
“It’s a good way to start the season and have some fun,” said Stratton resident Jeff Pollard.
“A fun-filled derby,” echoed Romyn. “It’s a community event to give everyone a chance to get together for a fun time.”