Mistissini’s David Mianscum was a respected hunter, trapper, fisher and guide. Though he died last October 27, his memory now lives on in the David Mianscum Memorial Fishing Derby, which had its first edition over the Labour Day weekend. The goal, in part, was to remember Mianscum by being out on the land and water he loved.
“That’s how he lived his life,” said organizer Stanley Mianscum, David’s son. “He was always a fishing guide in the summer, and he always participated in fishing derbies with my mom.”
For that reason, the Mianscum Memorial Derby was open specifically to male-female couples. Stanley’s mom Lucy Mianscum teamed up with his brother Louie. They competed for a total of $40,000 in prizes, with a first prize of $20,000 for the biggest combined catch of the weekend.
Stanley chuckled, noting that his mom didn’t hit any of the prizes. “She caught fish too, but not big enough!” he said.
The grand prize went to Eric Menard and Valerie Bélanger of Chibougamau. Stanley noted that Menard had also won $30,000 at the Big Rock Derby.
“[Menard] always fishes in the derbies, with the Nemaska people, Waswanipi, Chisasibi. He just loves to fish,” Stanley observed. “His biggest was 6.96 pounds, but he had three fish to combine for the weekend. He got almost 14 pounds altogether.”
Stanley added that the biggest single-day fish of the weekend was 7.09 pounds.
Still, the derby had good weather for its first two days and only a bit of rain on the third, and all the people it needed to happen. And more important, said Stanley, it achieved its goal.
“[David Mianscum] and my mom would always fish together,” he said. “At other derbies it would always be individual, or it would be male-male. We wanted to have this event so the ladies could also participate. We made it so they could be part of a team. Most of the women – half of them, probably – it was their first fishing derby. They really enjoyed it. We could see all the smiles: everybody was laughing. They were meeting new people, gathering. I heard a lot of them say they wanted to do another derby.”
Stanley says they hope to repeat the Mianscum Memorial next year, pending approval from the Mistissini band council.