Fishing Lines: The area fishing derby season starts next weekend
Last week, you were able to put dates on the calendar to attend some of the boat and marine shows. As promised, I have some additional dates to put on your calendar. These are dates for several ice-fishing events. I am only listing a few of the many ice-fishing derbies that are held all over Minnesota. The ones listed here are close and have some tradition. Most of the ice-fishing events are family friendly and have many other activities that promote their community or area. Many of the ice-fishing events are fundraising events that help support local charities. Most have prizes worth way more than the fees collected could provide due to the charitable donations by local businesses.
On Feb. 2, Park Rapids will be the site of the annual American Legion Ice fishing Contest. The derby will be held on Fish Hook Lake. Community parking is available with transportation to the fishing area provided. The tournament will be from 1-3:30 p.m. and tickets are $40. Jerry Benham is the contact person for the event and can be reached at 218-732-5238. Like all winter events, Park Rapids will have many other activities going before and after the fishing contest. The following weekend has three major fishing events from which to choose. Feb. 9 will have the following events: Alexandria's Lake Le'Homme Dieu will host The Ice-fishing Challenge. This event has the advantage of being in the morning, so if you play it right, you could attend this derby and one of the other local events. The Ice-fishing Challenge will be held from 9-11 a.m. and tickets are $35. You can get more information on this event at: www.icefishingchallenge.org. Locally we have two events on Feb. 9. Lake Ida has a youth fishing event that has been extremely well attended over the years and has done a lot to promote youth fishing. All tackle and bait is provided. Youth 15 years old and younger can participate in this free event. There will also be free hotdogs and pop on the ice with many prizes for the kids. The hours for the Lake Ida event are 1-3:30. Also on the 9th will be the 3rd annual "Poles and Holes" fishing derby on Little Detroit Lake. The "Poles and Holes" event is sponsored by the DL Breakfast Rotary. Fishing will take place from 12 noon until 3 p.m. in front of the Lakeside Tavern. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 if purchased on the ice. You can get all the information you need about this event at: www.icefishingdetroitlakes.org.
The 30th annual "Eelpout Festival" will be held on Leech Lake at Walker on Feb. 14-17. This is one of the oldest and largest ice-fishing events in the state. Some of the activities associated with this festival are family friendly, and some of the winter celebration activities are more of the "adults only" type. Again, the community of Walker has many activities going on and off the ice during this celebration. You can get all the information you need about this event at: www.eelpotfestival.com.
All of these events are well managed and have great volunteer support. Holes are pre-drilled and the fishing events themselves are usually three hours or less. This makes for a great situation to get all the kids out and experience ice fishing. They are very social events and help shorten our winters. If you haven't already, get out and experience one of these events.
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)