Poles 'N Holes ice fishing derby draws 650 anglers of all ages

The Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary Club's 12th Annual Poles 'N Holes ice fishing derby is in the books, and despite "sometimes brutal" conditions, the Polar Fest event drew more than 650 participants, who reeled in over 150 fish on Feb. 19.

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The 12th Annual Poles 'N Holes Fishing Derby brought more than 650 ice anglers to Little Detroit Lake on Feb. 19. A total of 150 fish were caught for the derby, with 30 prizes awarded to those who hauled in the biggest northerns, bullheads, sunfish, perch and crappie.
Contributed / Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary

For more than a decade, the Detroit Lakes Polar Fest celebration has included an ice fishing derby, courtesy of the local Breakfast Rotary Club — and the 2022 Poles 'N Holes Fishing Derby took place as scheduled on Feb. 19, despite inhospitable weather that led to a slightly later-than-normal gate opening.

"Over 650 participants braved the cold to compete in the 12th Annual Poles 'N Holes," said Breakfast Rotary member Brent Gerber, who was one of the organizers of the event.

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More than 650 ice anglers showed up for the 12th Annual Poles 'N Holes Fishing Derby on Saturday, Feb. 19. Hosted by the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary, the event was held on Little Detroit Lake.
Courtesy Photo / Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Gerber noted that weather conditions were "sometimes brutal" for the derby, which took place during the afternoon. Last-minute weather-related cancellations from some vendors also made food and beverages harder to find than normal, for both participants and spectators.

"But despite that, nearly 150 total fish (somewhat smaller in size this year) were registered," Gerber said, and an "interesting battle" took place to see who would earn the 30 prizes that were awarded at the conclusion of the derby.

In the end, Ben Steidl of Miltona, Minn., earned the top prize — a 2022 Polaris Sportsman 4-wheeler — after reeling in a northern weighing 1.8 pounds.


Full results can be found online at .

Polar Fest 2022 wraps up this weekend in Detroit Lakes, with the Polar Fest Plunge, Frozen Fireworks, Sweetheart Sundae Dance and more. A full schedule, and more information about specific events, can be found online at .

This will also be the final weekend to view the MN Sn'Ice Palace and surrounding snow and ice sculptures, including an ice maze, media desk and poetry walk. Live camera feeds of all the action surrounding the ice palace can be found online at .

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at
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