Ice fishing contest moves Pigeon Lake

Ice fishing contest moves Pigeon Lake
Ice Fishing Contest

There will no longer be thousands of ice fishing enthusiasts crowding Pigeon Lake as the venue has been moved to Gull Lake, near Red Deer.

Jules S. Xavier
Wetaskiwin Times Advertiser — In years past, for one winter day, Pigeon Lake has been turned into a camp for thousands of people — all with fishing rods, all wanting stories of the one they caught.

But no more. They got away.

The Original Ice Fishing Contest, the group out of Manitoba which hosted the Pigeon Lake contest, is moving its Alberta contest from the shores of Ma-Me-O Beach to Gull Lake.

“The fish population has been getting less and less (in Pigeon Lake),” said Original Ice Fishing Contest CEO Larry Bosiak.

“In talking to our fisherpeople, Gull Lake seems to be the lake people think we should be at. It’s only 20 minutes from Pigeon Lake, north of Red Deer.”
On its website, under the Gull Lake Ice Fishing Contest is a note reading:
All contestants that attended the Pigeon Lake Ice Fishing Contest on Feb. 10, 2005, please direct all comments/suggestions/complaints pertaining to the stop check in the parking lot conducted by the RCMP to Insp. Doug Reti of the Wetaskiwin RCMP.

Bosiak said the note on the web site did not have anything to do with moving the contest.

“Last year, we had quite a bit of traffic backed up and some people (who had attended the event) were running low on oxygen. This is where our concern came from,” said Bosiak.
He added some women contestants also had problems as the portable toilets had already been taken out and they were in need of washroom facilities while waiting to exit the parking area.

“It was uncomfortable for some of our fisherpersons and we received a lot of comments from our fisherpersons,” said Bosiak.
Reti said the stop check and traffic direction was a joint effort between traffic services and the Wetaskiwin RCMP.

“We never did receive any complaints on our check stop and we didn’t get complaints that weekend (from ice fishing contestants) that weekend,” he said.
“Our concern was getting the traffic moving off the lake in an orderly fashion as well as to make sure no one was drinking and driving.”

Reti said the check stop occurred last year as a result of previous complaints.
“We received information (from the year before) saying there was a lot of drinking,” he noted.

“I thought we did well.”
As well as not receiving any complaints regarding the stop check, Reti said he did not know anything about the website’s note until he stumbled across it doing research

Ruth Saunders
Times Staff

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