High school students are now hooked on a favourite Manitoba pastime thanks to a first-of-its-kind event.

Hundreds of high school students from 42 schools across the province gathered at Balsam Bay last week for the 1st annual Manitoba Provincial High School Fishing Derby.

"This derby was more than just a competition—it was an opportunity for hands-on learning," said Physical Education and Health Education Coordinator for SJASD, J.J. Ross, in the division's newsletter.

Students came from as far away as Thompson and Waskada to participate in the daylong event. 

Volunteers helped pre-drill 900 holes across the lake, allowing each kid to try their skills.

"Participants delved into the intricacies of fishing equipment, honing their skills in knot tying, untangling lines, and baiting hooks," said Ross. "Moreover, they gained valuable insights into fish species identification, enriching their understanding of the diverse aquatic life inhabiting Manitoba's lakes."

"The success of the 1st Annual Manitoba High School Provincial Ice Fishing Derby is a testament to the power of community and the enduring spirit of youth." 

In the end, 57 fish were caught and measured, with the largest walleye caught measuring 23.5".