Ice Fishing Derby – 2015

If there was one consolation for the 2015 Ice Fishing Derby, it was the fact that it was a rare milder day than what we’ve been having this winter. The wind was relatively calm too, which makes a huge difference in how cold you will feel, while standing or sitting over that hole in the ice for three hours, or more.

The map above, shows a blue line, which was the path that I took today, the red balloon, which is the Miner’s Monument location, and the green balloon, with a yellow square, which is the area, on the ice, that was cordoned off for the Ice Fishing Derby

The lineups to get on the ice probably started early this morning, as they usually do, but I was not going to be there for that. I intended to show up later in the contest, and try to make my way over to the far side of Horne Lake for some different views of the Derby. However, I hadn’t counted on the amount of snow we had gotten, during the night, and during the day.

The forecast had said about 2-4cms, but we surely got more than that, and this fact really put a damper on attendance at this year’s Ice Fishing Derby. Also, the snow never stopped during the contest, and that made photography really difficult, so the pictures of this event will suffer somewhat.

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I was using three different cameras for this event, two of them ‘new to me’ cameras, so I was curious to see how they would work out. This shot was taken by a small Canon A495, that I picked up on ebay for only .99 cents. Not bad!

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Again, the Canon A495, as I first arrived on the scene at around 1:30pm.

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This shot was taken with the second ‘new to me’ camera that I brought along. I was really impressed with this Canon SX240. I lucked out on this one for sure, picking it up off ebay for only $15. This camera is quite similar to my two bigger Canon SX40’s, just in a smaller package, and it performed just as well.

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I also had one of my trusty, bigger, Canon SX40’s with me today too, and, even though the weather conditions were quite unfavorable for photography, I was really pleased with the way all of these cameras performed in such dreary conditions.

My intention for today was to go around to the other side of the lake, via the Horne Lake Trail, and get on top of the rocky cliff on the far east side of the lake. I figured that I could get some different angles of the anglers from there. 🙂

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Making my way through the bush, I stopped, here and there, to get a shot of the Derby, as I proceeded. You can clearly see the snow falling in this shot, which was taken with my SX240.

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As I reached the bridge, over the river, which goes from Horne Lake into Elliot Lake, I realized that this hike was not going to be as easy as I had thought. There was a fair amount of new snow on the trail and, in a couple of places, I found myself waist deep in the stuff.

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Ya, I know, it looks nice enough but, let me tell ya, this turned out to be much more of a workout than I ever thought it would be. I can’t believe that this old body can still take what I throw at it.

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After slogging my way uphill, through the snow, I finally reached the top and, after a session of heavy breathing, started to take some shots from up there.

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A panorama from the top of the ridge, taken with the SX240. This much smaller camera is performing just as well as my much bigger SX40’s, even though it may not be apparent under these conditions.

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Here’s a similar panorama using the bigger SX40. Keep in mind, it’s snowing at a pretty steady rate out there, so that definitely had an effect on the quality of the pictures.

Another neat thing about the Canon SX240 is that it takes fantastic video, something my older SX120 was sorely lacking. You’ll have to excuse my fast panning, I really am working on trying to slow it down, but that’s not as easy as it might seem.

This video was taken, with the SX240, from the top of the cliff, on the other side of Horne Lake, and you can definitely see the snow coming down.

Again, from the top of the cliff, this time with the SX40.

After a while, they sounded the air horn, to end the competition, and so I started to make my way back down the trail. I figured that it would take all those folks some time to get off the ice, and up to the Miner’s Monument parking lot, for the award presentations. However, even before I got too far, I could see that they were making much better progress than I was.

Still, by the time I got down there, the awards hadn’t started, and I found a nice high spot, where I felt I could get some good shots of the presentations.

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However, it soon became clear to me that this was just going to be another disaster, as it became last year, when the trail grooming machine came plowing right through the awards presentation. Whoever is responsible for the awards ceremonies should be fired.

Someone decided that it would be a great idea to have the presentations made at ground level, where they could neither be seen, nor heard. Last year, they, at least, had the good sense to make the presentations from the back of a pickup truck, lifting them high enough so everyone could see them. Also, the PA system they used last year was very audible. I can’t imagine why they chose to take a step backward for this year, but that’s life.

Anyway, the total attendance for this year’s Ice Fishing Derby, was way down, probably due to the weather. There were just 550 anglers out on the ice this year, which meant that the first prize would also be down. The entry fee for one hole is $100. and half of all the money taken in goes to the first prize, so this year that amount was $27,500. Definitely nothing to frown at, but still less than usual.

The winner this year caught a 34cm perch, just over a foot long, so no big ones this year. I guess one could say that this was a smaller than usual year, in regards to prize, fish, and attendance.

The weather is headed into the deep freeze again now, so it certainly was a lucky warmer day for the Derby this year. After the temperatures come up a bit, I’ll be back out to continue testing these new cameras that I just got. Some nice blue skies, and light winds might be just the thing I need to do just that. Until then, I’ll just crawl back into my hole, and keep warm.

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