By Tara Mathews
HOWARD LAKE, MN Sweethearts can share their love for fishing at Howard Lake’s 69th annual fishing derby Saturday, Feb. 14 at the Howard Lake public access, on the west side of the lake, off Wright County Road 6.
“We’ve had mixed reviews about it being on Valentine’s Day this year,” Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club President Denny Decker said. “But I think plenty of people will enjoy fishing with their significant others, especially if we have good weather.”
Registration and weighing will begin at 1 p.m., and winners will be announced around 3 p.m.
Prizes will be awarded for the biggest fish in five categories including bass, sunfish, crappie, walleye, and northern.
Ice chiseling and auger contests take place during the event, as well.
There will be a door prize drawing that includes 120-130 prizes donated by local merchants. Entrants need not be present to win.
A raffle is also part of the event. Tickets can be purchased at Joe’s Sports Shop and The Country Store in Howard Lake prior to the event, or at the registration and weighing table during the event.
“I don’t know how the sportsmen’s club could pull this off if not for the help of Joe’s Sports Shop,” Decker noted. “The majority of raffle tickets are sold there.”
Prizes for the raffle include a Strike Master power auger, a Ducks Unlimited print, a Pheasants Forever print, and a 6.5-foot-by-12-foot Ice Castle fishhouse.
Last year, Marlin Brandau of Maple Grove won the drawing for the Ice Castle fishhouse; Steve Ocel won a portable fishhouse; and Jeff Lader and Wayne Clammer won the Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever prints.
Currently, about 3,000 tickets have been sold, according to Decker.
“Raffle tickets are the main fundraiser for the sportsmen’s club,” Decker said. “Usually we sell about 5,500 each year.”
New this year will be a children’s fishing clinic hosted by Jesse Tintes of Tintes Outdoors.
The clinic will be located on Howard Lake near Tintes Outdoors beginning at noon.
“Even if there’s bad weather, people will still come,” Decker said. “It’s going to be a great time, as usual.”
2014 HL Fishing Derby winners
Last year’s winners include:
• Carl Byzewski, 7-pound-7-ounce northern;
• Cody Utne, 5-ounce sunfish;
• Ken Churchill, 1-pound-2-ounce crappie;
• Tom Bobrowski, chiseling contest;
• Dan Zachmann, hand auger contest;
• Ron Boelke, electric auger contest;
• Dave Oestreich, gas auger contest; and
• Gordon Shrode, 87, “Oldest Person On the Ice” contest.