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Bring your whole family to Tillsonburg fishing derby

Drop a fishing line Saturday, July 6th at Lake Lisgar to participate in Tillsonburg’s 5th annual Family Fishing Derby.

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The annual derby begins at 7 a.m. and concludes at 1 p.m. with ‘headquarters’ near the dock / water park.


Bring your whole family, everyone is eligible to fish from infant to adult.

“From zero to 104,” said Mike Dean, organized and run the derby for the last five years with his wife Rosemary Dean, friends and volunteers.

“We’ll even take 105 year olds if they want to fish,” he laughed.

“It’s our fifth year sponsoring it and we hope it’s the biggest and best yet. Last year we had really good numbers… 267 participants. We had 234 the year before, and about 140 the year before that, so it’s grown every year.

“Our main goal is to get families together, fishing and spending time together.”

The fishing derby is held annually Ontario Free Family Fishing Week (June 29-July 7).

“It’s a free weekend to fish, you can fish without a license. So really, there’s no cost. You just go out fishing with your family, have a fun day. We don’t charge anything and you get a free hot dog, drink, and the children get a swag bag. The only thing you have to buy are worms.”

Dean said they encourage participants to fish from the shore at Lake Lisgar, but boats are allowed as long as they conform to the ‘no gas-powered engine’ bylaws.

The lake has been stocked multiple times, said Dean, by the Kinsmen and the Lake Lisgar Revitalization Committee, and is home to bass, trout, sunfish, catfish and more. This year trophies will be presented in various categories, in addition to traditional prizes like fishing poles, tackle boxes and reels.

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There will also be a draw for a kayak this year.

No pre-registration is required and there is no registration fee. Just show up on the 6th between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m., register, and sign a liability form. Every participant will be assigned a number, and fish that are brought back to be measured (by length, not weight) will be credited to that number.

“We encourage live release,” said Dean. “We want the fish to be released for the next angler.”

In addition to being sponsored by Mike and Rosemary Dean, the fishing derby is sponsored by Cops, Kids and Canadian Tire Fishing Days. Also sponsoring this year’s event are the Town of Tillsonburg’s Cultural Advisory Committee, Tillsonburg Kinsmen Club and The Co-operators – Carrie Smith (C.L. Smith Insurance Group).

“We hope everyone can come out and enjoy a great day of fishing,” said Dean. “We want to see all kinds of kids and families fishing together.”

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