Starting this weekend you can find a fishing derby or two available to participate in every weekend from now until the middle of February.

In the past, I have listed specific ice derby events with times and some general information. I am hesitant to do that again, as I have received feedback from some that I neglected to mention, or others having feelings of showing favoritism or bias. Was never my intent to feature one over another, but to just get the information out about other options (like derbies) for the ice fishing opportunities in our immediate area and our region.

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I will leave it to you to search out the opportunities that are available that fit into your schedule. Contacting local bait shops here and in our surrounding communities is a great place to get the information you need, as most derbies will post info at all the bait shops.

Most of the events last three or four hours, and the events are set up to be very "user friendly." The majority are fundraisers for good causes, with many community partners making donations of time or prizes for the events.

They are family and kid friendly, and become very social community events. These winter activities are great examples of community spirit and fun that can be had in this winter wonderland of ours. You don't need to be a tournament type of angler or an experienced ice angler to have success at these events. If you are an experience ice angler, it can up the "luck factor" to get in on some of the great prizes available. Most offer raffle tickets with great prizes as well, and you can easily become the winner of a fantastic prize for donating a few bucks to a good cause.

We are also at the start of the winter boat-marine-fishing shows. These events will run from now through March in all the larger surrounding cities like Grand Forks, Fargo-Moorhead, St. Cloud, Bemidji, Brainerd, Duluth, and of course, the Twin Cities. Most of these events are well advertised and can also be looked up on the internet or social media sites. Again, I will leave it to you to look up and not show any favoritism here!

These events always have great speakers, and all the latest in what the fishing industry has to offer. Sponsored pro staff and industry experts are available to answer questions and share insights. Great deals on boats and marine products can be had at these events. They are timely as we start to get a little fed up with winter, and are ready for spring and summer to get here so we can enjoy the upcoming open water season. Still lots for us to do yet this winter, no reason to get bored or get cabin fever.

(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)