The Town of Sylvan Lake is inviting fishing enthusiasts of all skill-levels to join The Big Jig annual ice fishing derby next weekend (Jan. 19 to Jan. 21). 

“This is a unique event in that you really get to utilize the lake for enjoyment and for entertainment,” Communications Officer for the Town of Sylvan Lake Jared Waldo said. “This is a great opportunity to catch some fish, you may win some cash but at the end of the day, you're going to get a lot of quality time together with those that you really care about.” 

The three-day ice fishing tournament started in 2021, as a way for the community to spend time together while following social distancing protocols, and since then, has turned into a community-favourite event to beat the January Blues. 

“Whenever you can get the opportunity to get people together it always seems to bring the morale up, bring people together and there's always smiles and good times,” Waldo said. 

Derby goers will catch and release perch, walleyes, white fish, and bourbon for the chance to win more than $7,500 in total prizes, and a $3,000 cash grand prize. 

There's a little bit of something for everyone to participate in and be a part of it,” Waldo said. “It's all done online through an app, so it makes the process really simple, and it makes it accessible to as many people as possible from across the province.” 

On average, the ice fishing tournament sees 200 anglers, and is continuing to grow. 

“Fishing is just one of those very relaxed types of events where you can enjoy the company that you keep, you may sit out there all day and not see any activity or catch anything, but you do get that time together with friends and family,” Waldo said. “It’s important to keep those connections alive and active.” 

Derby goers are asked to use caution when enjoying the ice either along the shoreline, or closer to deeper parts of the lake where fishing will occur, as the Town of Sylvan Lake doesn’t monitor the ice quality or thickness. 

“We just ask that anybody that's coming to utilize the lake use ice basic common sense and use caution," Waldo said. 

For more event information, lake access, and how to register visit the towns website here