2015-03-05 / Front Page

Derby Promises Anglers Action On Muskie Bay

By Paul Gingras

The Steve Tassier Memorial Pike and Perch Fishing Derby returns to Les Cheneaux Islands Saturday, March 7, through Sunday, March 8. The Lucas Izzard Foundation for Teens (LIFT) hosts the derby to honor a man known for kindness and the love of fishing. Two days of angling will be offered, with headquarters at Muskie Bay.

Thick ice prevented spear-fishing last year, but organizers expect to pull pike from the water with spears this time around. Some anglers use chainsaws and ice saws to cut out a big enough area of ice to do both, keeping ice-time interesting by fishing for awhile, putting bait down to draw pike for spearing, and returning for more fishing.

Outdoor family activities are important to LIFT because they foster positive habits that are easily passed on to others. The derby also helps fund projects like LIFT’s visit to Kewadin Shores Casino in St. Ignace last year, where the group raised awareness of local suicide prevention programs and showed that local people facing psychological challenges have allies in their community who are ready and willing to help.

Members of Islands Wildlife, the derby’s chief promoter, will be on hand to help parents and children have a successful ice fishing experience. In its fifth year, the derby “is definitely helping to keep the tradition alive,” said LIFT Chairman Mark Clymer.

LIFT promotes healthy lifestyles by helping people in distress, and by helping prevent the challenges that can lead to despair. The group provides suicide awareness and coping classes. Part of LIFT’s mission is fostering communication. In some cases, it can be hard to find the right person to talk to as a result of a social support gap with friends and family at one end, and professionals such as those at Hiawatha Behavioral Health on the other.

LIFT is always looking for volunteers to help with its many activities, including help for an hour or two at a time once the derby gets going.

Fish measuring times Saturday are from noon to 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Catches must be in by 7:30 p.m. to be measured. Sunday measuring will be from 4:30 p.m. to the contest deadline at 6:30 p.m.

Derby participants compete for cash prizes. There will be first, second, and third place winners in each category, with youth division winners competing for up to $50 cash, young adults competing for up to $100, and adults competing for a grand prize of up to $300. Raffles will yield a power auger, a portable ice shanty, and other goods.

Pre-registration is ongoing at Cedar Pantry, Hessel Grocery, and Wilderness Treasures. The cost is $10 for youth 11 years old or younger, $15 for 12 to 17 years old, and $25 for adults. Detailed rules will be provided. Last minute registration, for an additional $5, is from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday, March 7. Event headquarters will be at the base of the fire road entrance to Woodland Park.

More information is available from Mark Clymer at (906) 298- 0501 and at www.LucasIzzard.org.

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