I’ve long been a fan of Wil Wegman and his tireless work promoting and protecting his home water, the big-bass Mecca that is Ontario’s Lake Simcoe. So it was great to learn that Wil and his fellow angler-conservationists with Aurora Bassmasters are this year’s recipient of the prestigious Berkley Conservation Award.

Presented annually by the Berkley Conservation Institute, the U.S.$2,000 award honours groups across North America working to preserve and conserve local fisheries. Wil was on hand to accept the prize on February 22 at a special ceremony in Shreveport, L.A.

In presenting the honour, the institute’s conservation director, Jim Martin, praised the Aurora Bassmasters for its joint work with Queen’s University and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, studying the effects of fizzing on Simcoe’s bass.

“Setting up a historical record of bass caught during tournaments and the effects of fizzing over a long period of time reflects the conservation ideals of the Berkley Conservation Institute,” Martin said. “Understanding the health and population of an entire lake is key to preserving the fishery for the long run. The Aurora Bassmasters have done a great job continuing the efforts of preserving our heritage.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Congratulations to you Wil, and to all the fine members of Aurora Bassmasters. As a regular angler on Lake Simcoe, I truly appreciate all that you do.