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Lake Ida, Little Detroit to welcome little fishermen: DL, Cormorant youth fishing derbies will provide free family fun

According to organizer Tammy Odegaard, a multitude of fish are caught at the Cormorant Fishing Derby each year. (Submitted Photo)1 / 3
Free hot dogs will be provided throughout the Luke Gandrud Memorial Youth Fishing Derby, as will soda and hot chocolate. (Submitted Photo)2 / 3
A child poses with her fish and prize. Each child receives a door prize, and additional prizes are awarded for fish in different categories. (Submitted Photo)3 / 3

When a trip to the movies costs an arm and a leg (and another arm, if someone gets hungry), family outings are becoming more and more difficult to afford. Next weekend, though, a local lake is providing a day-long opportunity for families to get some fresh air, food and entertainment — all at no cost to the family.

The Cormorant Lakes Sportsman's Club and Cormorant Pub are hosting their annual Luke Gandrud Memorial Youth Fishing Derby this Saturday, Feb. 18 from 1 to 3 p.m. on Lake Ida, a quarter of a mile west of the Roadhouse on Becker County Highway 4.

According to former president and current board member Tammy Odegaard, the derby typically brings around 500 children and their families onto the ice.

"Families usually make a day of it," she said. "Everybody is welcome."

Children under 15 years old can fish, and each child gets a bucket of bait, a fishing pole and a door prize, according to Odegaard. Fishing holes are already drilled and ready for families when they arrive, and all bait is provided by Quality Bait in Detroit Lakes.

In addition to door prizes, children can also win prizes in different categories, such as largest overall fish and largest fish of a certain species.

"The kids catch so many fish," Odegaard said, "and they're always so proud to register them, no matter how small they are. If they're novices to fishing, there are people who can help them on the ice, too."

Free hot dogs, soda and hot chocolate are provided throughout the event at no cost. Thanks to a wide range of sponsors, the event provides an opportunity for families that may not be able to afford going out to spend an entire day out together, according to Odegaard.

"Everything is completely free, and everybody leaves with something," she said. "We get a lot of kids who normally don't get to go fishing."

Odegaard said that families are able to drive onto the ice and park right next to fishing holes or, if they're uncomfortable driving on the ice, four wheelers will be available to help with transportation.

Although families don't need to remember their wallets for this particular event, one thing that shouldn't be forgotten is the proper gear for ice fishing.

"Dress for the weather," Odegaard said. "You're going to want boots, hats and gloves. This is Minnesota."

Polar Fest Youth Fishing Derby

Looking to brush up on your fishing skills before the big event in Cormorant? A little earlier in the day, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Minnesota Darkhouse & Angling Association will be hosting a Youth Fishing Derby on Little Detroit Lake (south of Rossman Avenue public access) as part of Detroit Lakes' Polar Fest 2017 celebration.

This event is also free for kids age 12 and under. Bait is provided. Some rods will be available. Prizes will be offered for the biggest fish for both boys and girls, and there will be some door prizes just for showing up! The prize giveaway will be held at the conclusion of the derby at 12:30 p.m.