You can use a minnow to bait a fishing hook. But if you want to attract fishermen, you need to lure them with some bigger fish.

Age Friendly Cold Lake’s (AFCL) third annual Cold Lake Ice Fishing Tournament brought the anglers to town this weekend and sent them home happy. 

The tournament was limited to 400 participants, and those spots had been sold out since November. AFCL had the sponsorship, prizes, and hospitality in place—the rest was up to the fish.

And the famous lake trout of Cold Lake came through, with great catches registered throughout the weekend. The fishing was especially good on Friday and Saturday, with slower action on Sunday. 

AFCL volunteer Bonnie Folkard said feedback from the fishers was fantastic. “Everybody’s so grateful. Just happy to be here, excited to come back again next year,” she said. “This is our third tournament, and we’ve got a lot of regulars. And a lot of people coming by and saying they’ll be back next year.”

The tournament is AFCL’s biggest fundraiser. Folkard said the support from sponsors is “amazing.” It’s also an opportunity for the organization to raise its profile in the community, and Folkard said the awareness benefit is important.

“I’ve never seen Cold Lake so excited for the fishing tournament,” she said. “Everybody has a lot more awareness of Age Friendly Cold Lake and what we do, and  especially all the proceeds going to our programs and services, which is so amazing.”

Planning has already begun for next year’s tournament. 

“We just keep getting better and better. We really do,” she said. “We’re always trying to find new ways to give out more prizes. You may not catch the fish of the day or win the big prize. But there’s so many other fantastic prizes and again, just so many great sponsors helping us to make this a success.”

Just some of the lake trout caught and released over the weekend. Photos SUBMITTED