The 2021 Western Canada Kayak Fishing Trail (#WCKFT) tournament series has officially kicked-off!
Unfortunately, last season had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. It was quite a shame, after the summer that we had I know everyone could’ve used the distraction! For the upcoming 2021 season, I was compelled to join the WCKFT planning committee so that I could contribute to the Trail and help make sure that the tournament series could continue, despite the challenges brought on by Covid.
I’m happy to report that not only are we hosting tournaments for 2021, but this year’s tournament series promises to be better than ever! Most people are probably aware of the challenges the industry is facing with product and material shortage, but a lot of wonderful people have stepped up and, as a result, we have more sponsors and support than ever before.
The kayak fishing tournament scene isn’t new to Western Canada, the premier event, Eastslope Classic, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The other stops on the trail were introduced a few years ago and have steadily been gaining popularity. We now have 8 kayak fishing tournament events throughout Alberta (AB), British Columbia (BC), and Saskatchewan (SK).
Welcome New Kayak Anglers!
Covid-19 forced most of us to spend our summer close to home and to rethink our holidays and summer plans. As a result, kayak sales are still through the roof and there are a lot of new anglers entering the sport. Kayak fishing may be new to a lot of people and it’s a sport that, if you haven’t spent a lot of time on the water, can feel a bit intimidating. A common theme I’ve heard from newcomers is that some may feel they lack the skills to compete in a kayak fishing tournament, or that they are not competitive enough to participate.
I would encourage anyone that’s sitting on the fence to come out! One of the driving factors for keeping the entry fees low is to encourage more new anglers and for those anglers to bring their families. Tournament days are a chance to meet and hang out with like minded people. It’s also a great opportunity to ask questions and learn from experienced anglers. You can only gain so much from sites like mine or YouTube, there’s still a lot to discover by getting out on the water. It wasn’t that long ago that I was a newcomer, I can tell you with certainty that the reason I love kayak fishing so much is the tournament series and the people I’ve met through it.
Where to Sign Up
Since Covid restrictions are in place this season, the events will run a bit differently. The WCKFT has partnered with MyCatch by Anglers Atlas to bring the tournament to an online app. Through the MyCatch app and website, you are able to sign up and pay your entry fee for each event.
The main place to find the most recent information on all the #WCKFT events and activities are though the Facebook pages; although you can follow along on Instagram and YouTube as well:
Instagram – #wckft
Tournament Locations and Dates
There are 8 tournaments spread throughout the western provinces. Alberta hosts the majority of the events because that’s where the tournament series originated.
|Trout on the Fly||May 29, 2021||Open Creek Reservoir, AB||Open Creek Campground|
|Battle on Buffalo||June 12, 2021||Buffalo Lake, AB||Pelican Point Campground|
|River Runs Through||June 19, 2021||Driedmeat Lake, AB||Tillicum Beach Park|
|Rubi’s Gator Classic||July 3, 2021||Phantom Lake, SK||Overland Resort|
|Eastslope Classic||July 31-Aug 1, 2021||Glennifer Lake, AB||Gwendale Hall*|
|Cold Lake Classic||August 14, 2021||Cold Lake, AB||French Bay Campground|
|Moutcha Bay||Aug 28-29, 2021||Nootka Sound, BC||Moutcha Bay Resort|
|Sask Landing Classic||Sept 11, 2021||Lake Diefenbaker, SK||Sask Landing Provincial Park|
There is also a season-long online tournament called the WCKFT Freshwater Summer Slam. The Summer Slam is open to anyone in the western provinces and almost all species are eligible to be entered. It’s a great way to get involved in tournament fishing if you are not able to come to the regular season events.
If you would like to see more tournaments in your area, reach out to me and we can set one up! Organizing and hosting a tournament is easy and we would welcome the opportunity to expand the Trail.
What do you need to compete? (Rules)
It’s very simple to compete in a #WCKFT event! Any human-powered watercraft is welcome to compete – that includes canoes, row boats, fly-fishing pontoons and even pool floaties.
- Kayak, Paddle, PFD
- Fishing rod and tackle
- Bump board (or other fish measuring tool)
- Winning attitude!
The majority of the WCKFT events are Catch, Photo, Release tournaments. The only exception is the Moutcha Bay tournament in B.C. In order to ensure that the health of our fisheries come first, we ask that all anglers use fish handling best practices and mandate the use of barbless hooks. Using a net and keeping your catch in the water until you are ready to measure is the best way to ensure a healthy release.
The complete rules are available for each event on the MyCatch App and must be accepted before you can sign up.
Prizes and Sponsors
We have some fantastic prizes lined up from amazing sponsors. Big shout out to our long time sponsors: Kokatat and Aquabatics; and thank you to some of our new sponsors this season: Railblaza, Old Town Canoes, Orion, Rubi’s Outdoors and The Fishin’ Hole.
Since this year is bigger than ever, we wanted you to be able to remember what a great time you had though swag! Take a look at the catalog below and place your order to firstname.lastname@example.org.