NWT Arctic Anglers hosted its fifth annual Arctic Fishing Derby over the weekend of April 1 to April 3, which resulted in $20,000 in funds raised to help support the NWT Disabilities Council. Denise McKee, executive director of the NWT Disabilities Council, said the event grew “significantly” this year to 145 participants.

She says proceeds from the event will benefit her agency’s Experience Summer program, which provides one-on-one support for children four to twelve years old who have developmental delays, so they might attend a summer camp of their choice.

“Without this support, these children would be excluded and unable to participate successfully,” McKee said.

Derby winners include Bethan Williams in the trout category, Kayle Wouters for pike, Brendon Arthur for burbot, as well as Michael Stuart for the wild card category.

Bethan Williams, who’s son River Simpson did the official catching of the trout, was thrilled to be a part of the event.

Bethan Williams and River Simpson out at the Fifth Annual Fishing Derby. River would end up catching the winning trout for the team. Photo courtesy of Bethan Williams

“We were so happy to measure in as the largest trout,” said Williams who bagged a 27.5 inch specimen. “It was certainly a team effort, my daughter Lexi had hooked a fish earlier and then her line broke. My niece and her son were jigging for fun on my son River’s line, which had a piece of ‘secret bait’, and they quickly set the hook and passed the rod back to River’.”

“I panicked, of course, and yelled for River’s dad to assist,” she continued. “River safely landed the Trout and released it. Everything had to qualify through photos of the fish being measured on an official bump board ruler and a video of the fish being safely released back down the hole.”

Despite her excitement, there were still a bit of nerves as there was still 24 hours during that time where someone else could’ve measured in higher.

“We were so excited during the final few minutes of the derby but also a bit panicked that everything uploaded properly to the Fish Donkey site,” Williams said. “It was such a great event and such a wonderful group of volunteers and sponsors and with all proceeds going to the Disability Council of the NWT. A great community event.”

Murray Somers, who would placed third in the trout category of the fishing derby, holding his catch of the day. Photo courtesy of Murray Somers

The winning trout nabbed Williams and a crew a Stihl Ice Auger (donated by Polar Tech Recreation) which is first prize for the first place trout.

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