Stratton derby opens season

While there was concern low water levels might put a damper on the fishing opener, anglers young and old proved Saturday there still are lots of fish in the Rainy River.
Some 268 anglers purchased buttons for the Stratton fish derby, which is held annually on opening weekend at the Morley riverfront park.
And although the weather was decidedly brisk, and low water created some launch and landing problems, everyone was in good spirits.
Many of the pro anglers in the Emo Walleye Classic, slated for this coming Friday and Saturday, were in evidence at Stratton.
They use the tournament to do a little pre-fishing, as well as gather some current intelligence on potential hot spots and lurking low water hazards.
There were reports of some “new” rocks while the Long Sault Rapids called for some ticklish navigation. More than one prop and skag will be into the welding shop for repairs this week.
“Aw, I wanted a new motor anyway,” was Alex Anderson’s philosophical comment on his encounter with a boulder.
By weigh-in deadline at 4 p.m., a good catch was ready for the filleting knives. And as usual, the hardened pros were put to shame by the younger anglers.
Kyle Mailnot took the honour for first fish weighed in—a northern.
Todd Brannan landed the biggest walleye at just under eight pounds while second spot was a tie with a pair of beauties around six pounds brought in by Diane Tetley of Thunder Bay and seven-year-old Jeremy Haw of Stratton.
Tetley landed hers without a net—having it fall off her hook when she swung in over the boat.
Bert Sequin and Jason McQuaker took the honours in the bass class while top spot for northerns went to Tommy Anderson Jr., followed by Jock Gemmell and Aaron Keffer tied for second.
Official exact weights were not a big deal at this venue because all are in it for just a good time—and the evidence is disposed of at supper.
And the crowd did more than justice to the catch, along with potluck dishes everyone brought along. As usual, no one went hungry.
Socializing and a host of door prizes completed the evening, along with a whole new crop of “the one that got away” tales to be related for years to come.
Just goes to show you, as the song says, “It all right to be little bitty.”