In the inaugural Shake Off the Blues ice fishing tournament, the Cariboo Chilcotin came in a strong second.
As a result, $1,760 was donated to the riding and will be split evenly between the South Cariboo Health Foundation and the outdoor education program at Lake City Secondary School in Williams Lake.
The president and founder of Anglers Atlas’ MyCatch Sean Simmons helped facilitate the recent Shake Off the Blues Rural BC Ridings Ice Fishing Challenge. Promoted by local MLAs like the Cariboo’s Lorne Doerkson, the contest pitted six ridings against one another to see who could score the most points.
“The goal of this tournament was to see which riding would be crowned the ice fishing capital of British Columbia,” Simmons said.
The Cariboo Chilcotin scored 876 points with 29 anglers catching 115 fish of varying species and lengths. Taking first place was Prince George-McKenzie which earned 1,179 points thanks to 34 participants making 189 catches.
Simmons said people enjoy using his company’s services because they’ve developed an app that tracks fishing without revealing fishermen’s secret spots.
“Secret spots stay secret. The exact location is never revealed to the public,” Simmons said.
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This means they’re able to provide data to researchers or, in the case of a tournament, to judges. Simmons said they chose to start facilitating online tournaments last year after COVID-19 hit and most of the regular fishing tournaments were cancelled.
Simmons said contestants just had to log when they caught their fish, weigh it, take a picture with the scale and then release it to enter, all in less than a minute.
Not only does it provide a fun contest for anglers, but has minimal impact on the fish while providing researchers with important data for conservation efforts.
“Since we launched this new catch and release tournaments we’ve really blown up. We get about a million anglers on our platform each year,” Simmons said, adding engagement has only increased since they started facilitating the tournaments.
He said he’s interested in doing more of these events in the future and welcomes any potential partners reaching out to him. Simmons also looks forward to the chance to fish in the Cariboo once more.