Community Champions: Morinville fisherman looking to make a mark for Alberta

by Stephen Dafoe

Morinville resident Dean Vansevenandt and Edmonton-based partner Terry Robertson make up Alberta Gold, a fishing duo currently in third place in a Canadian Fishing Network (CFN) contest that will see the fishing team hit Ontario lakes in hopes of moving up the ranks and making it to CFN’s Season 2 broadcast.

CFN is currently running the CFN Fish Off, which pits 100 anglers making up 50 teams against one another for a six-week multi-species competition. The contest began June 22 and runs until Aug. 5.

“We were in a derby from Apr. 26 to June 4. Out of 52 active teams, we ended up fourth, one point away from third,” Vansevenandt explained, adding a wild card in the competition has put them in the running for CFN Season 2, which will consist of six online episodes of Canadian fishing.

Vansevenandt said he and Robertson are the only Alberta Team in the running. The other contenders consist of two teams from Ontario, and one from Quebec.

“We’re the only ones representing Alberta in the CFN Fish Off,” he said. “The event is all across Canada. We’re going against three other teams.”

The fishing team is trying to raise $1300 through a Go Fund Me page to get to Ontario and back to do some fishing and film their experience for the competition.

“We’re going to Ontario to be able to fish their waters and to beat all the teams for the last part of the season,” Vansevenandt said, noting Season 2’s six episodes will air on YouTube sometime in August.

Vansevenandt said he and Robertson are going for a variety of species and length of fish, two criteria that earn points for the fishing teams.

“Our goal is to get the species that Ontario and Montreal don’t have,” he said. “This whole week, we’ve been getting the ones they don’t have, so we’re guaranteed our four points to keep us in the rankings.”

Vansevenandt said competitors are only allowed to fish fresh water, so trips to the coast will not be part of their efforts.

Other contest rules include no gas-powered boats, fish must be a minimum of 8 inches long to qualify, and invasive species cannot be entered. The teams have to post all of their week’s catches on the CFN Fish Off Facebook page by midnight Sunday nights.

Contestants get four points per species depending on the size, and an additional four points for longest fish, descending by a point for second, third and shortest catch.

If Alberta Gold earns the most points after the six weeks, they will be crowned CFN Fish Off Champion and are sure to be featured in the Season 2 program.

Vansevenandt, 35, said he has been fishing in Morinville since he was a child, taking on both the Fish and Game Association pond and Heritage Lake. It is a passion that has stayed with him over the years and taken him to many other water bodies.

He and Robertson are hoping people will contribute to the trip through the Go Fund Me page so that they can bring a victory home for Morinville and Alberta.

“It feels good,” Vansevenandt sad of being high in the standings. “They’re fishing hard. We’ve just got to fish a little harder.

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