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Cheating allegations rock northern Ont. fishing tournament

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says it is investigating “a matter” related to the Top 50 Classic tournament held earlier this month on Lake Nipissing.

“The ministry is currently investigating these matters and as such we are unable to provide any further comment at this time,” the MNRF said in an email Thursday.

Sources have told CTV News that the controversy centres on allegations two teams altered the northern pike they caught Sept. 2 to give them an advantage in the tournament, which has a top prize of $10,000.

Under tournament rules, three of the five northern pike anglers catch must be 61 cm or shorter. In this case, the anglers are accused of catching longer pike and then trimming the tails to get them to the 61 cm limit.

A post on the tournament’s Facebook page refers to allegations of cheating in the tournament.

“These anglers are denying these acts,” the post said.

“That means without definitive proof that the anglers altered fish during tournament hours, they (were) entitled to fish on Sunday.”

The post also said that the people accused of cheating were being encouraged* to take a polygraph test to prove their innocence.

The post, dated Sept. 5, said organizers were trying to arrange the tests and added that anyone refusing to take the polygraph would be “permanently banned from top 50 Pike Series” and any related tournaments.

“We know the 2023 season didn’t end the way any of us wanted it to, however we wanted you to know it is being dealt with,” the post said.

In a message to CTV News, tournament organizers said they couldn’t comment on the incident until the MNRF completes its investigation.

“But we would be more than happy to once it’s concluded,” the message said.


An earlier version of this story said the anglers had agreed to take a polygraph. In fact, they were being encouraged to take it to clear their names. Top Stories

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