Detroit Lakes man wins Poles 'N Holes ice fishing derby with nearly 5-pound largemouth
After nearly 200 fish were weighed during the three-hour ice fishing contest, a Detroit Lakes man won the annual ice fishing derby with a 4.93-pound largemouth bass on Feb. 11.
DETROIT LAKES — With more than 1,200 anglers participating and nearly 200 fish weighed during the competition, a Detroit Lakes man won the Poles 'N Holes ice fishing derby with a 4.93-pound largemouth bass on Friday, Feb. 11.
Dylan Maneval, of Detroit Lakes, won a new Black Hole Ice Shack, the derby's top prize, and said he was surprised at the fish's size when he pulled it out of the ice.
"It didn't even feel that big, right away," said Maneval. "As soon as I saw that fish, I couldn't get my hand in it because it was so slippery. I had to get to the bottom of the fish to shove it out of the hole."
Maneval also said, while he's never entered the Poles 'N Holes tournament before, he has competed in other fishing derbies in the area and never gets anything usually.
"I lost all faith, and I just picked up the rod (at the derby) ... and I got that fish while I was talking to my girlfriend," he said.
He said he has fond memories growing up ice fishing with both sides of his family and, even though the hobby has waned a little bit over the years, he still enjoys sitting out on the lake with his rod and reel.
"It's probably the biggest fish I've caught," said Maneval. "It'll probably be one of the highlights of my life."
The top 30 finishers at the ice fishing derby won prizes for competing in the tournament, which ranged from fishing shelters to gift cards from the tournament sponsors.
Raffle prizes were also awarded throughout the day with Dave Lick, of Fargo, N.D., winning the big prize of a new 2022 John Deere X330 Lawn Tractor with mower and snowblower attachments.
The annual ice fishing tournament is hosted by the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary and served as one of the feature events for the first weekend of Polar Fest 2023.
Brent Gerber, an event coordinator for the derby, said he believed the turnout was a record for the fishing contest and credited the great weather for encouraging more anglers to come out this year.
"The weather has just been phenomenal," said Gerber. "It started at 7 o'clock this morning with the football team drilling the holes and, frankly, we've had to drill more throughout the day because we've just run out."
He added the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary has a core committee of about 10 members for the ice fishing derby, but, the day of the event, Gerber said, almost all 50 or 60 members of the Rotary will volunteer to help out at the tournament in some way.
"I think the largest fish ever caught (at the derby) was about five-and-a-half pounds, so it's up there," he said. "But the volume of fish, obviously it stands to reason that the more people that are fishing, the more fish are caught."
Gerber said the annual ice fishing derby is a great way to start Polar Fest and it should carry over into the snowmobile rally and swap next Saturday.
"It's better in the interest for Polar Fest for us to be on separate weekends and it gives them something to kind of build around too," he said.