Feb. 5, 2007

The 61st annual fishing derby in Howard Lake

By Jenni Sebora

The 61st annual Howard Lake fishing derby is set to take place again this year, Sat., Feb. 10 on Howard Lake. The popular event is sponsored by the Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club.

Regardless of weather, the derby “does go on.” In all those years, the event has never been cancelled.

“There have been years we couldn’t drive on the lake, but we still have it,” Sportsmen’s Club president Dennis Decker said.

In fact, four years ago, eight inches of snow fell during the derby.

By foot, snowmobile, or other vehicle, people make their way on the lake. Whether to participate in the various contests and/or raffle drawings, to enjoy a bite to eat from the food wagon, or to just enjoy some camaraderie, many people of all ages come to the lake to enjoy the derby.

“A lot of people and families come together for the day,” Decker said.

And the “day,” as mentioned above, holds a variety of activities. At the forefront are the fishing contests themselves.

Cash prizes are awarded to the biggest bass, walleye, Northern, and pan fish caught.

There aren’t just fishing contests either. People can also participate in chisel and auger contests, in which cash prizes are also given away.

Derby goers can also enjoy a bite to eat from the food wagon run by Charlie Bush.

About ten years ago, a raffle was also added to the derby’s doings as well. One doesn’t have to purchase a raffle ticket though to participate in the fishing contests.

With a purchase of a raffle ticket, ticket owners will get a chance at winning a variety of prizes. And people can purchase a ticket right up to the drawings, Decker noted.

There are about 100 different drawings throughout the derby day.

All tickets are put back in for the grand prize drawings, which are held at 4 p.m. that day.

These prizes include prints, a depth finder, and the lucky first place grand prize winner will get a fish house, valued at $10,000.

This year the Sportsmen’s Club purchased a King Crow fish house from Crookston, MN for the grand prize.

All proceeds from the raffle go to support the many activities and events the Sportsmen’s Club sponsors and/or participates in.

Some of these events and activities include firearm safety training, taking care of boat landings on Howard Lake, helping to sponsor the Good Neighbor Days fishing contest, Ducks Unlimited, and Pheasants Forever.

Raffle tickets can be purchased at Joe’s Sport Shop & Hardware in Howard Lake, from a Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club member, and from The Country Store in Howard Lake.

The grand prize fish house can also be seen at Joe’s Sport Shop.

“We appreciate Joe’s Sport Shop. The majority of tickets for the drawings get sold there,” Decker said.

The Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club currently has approximately 100 paid members and ten active members, and is trying to recruit new members, Decker noted.

Contact Ken Urdahl at (320) 543-3372 or Joe’s Sport Shop for membership information.

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