By Nan Royce
HOWARD LAKE Many locals and visitors alike may be starting to feel the wonderful cool of ice forming in their veins, signaling a popular winter event is happening soon.
The Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club is nearly ready to welcome all fisher people to its 72nd annual fishing derby Saturday, Feb. 10 from 1 to 3 p.m. on Howard Lake.
Catch a winner
The ever-popular event features something for everyone. For those who really love to dip that fishing line into the darkness under the lake ice, there is a cash competition for bringing in the biggest northern, walleye, bass, or panfish.
Fisher people may drill their own holes through the ice, or one of the club members will drill one, instead.
People may fish anywhere they like on the lake, as the contest runs on the honor system.
The contest will once again have a “50 Fish Board,” where successful anglers may write their name down on the game board. At the conclusion of the contest, the game board is fully opened, to reveal prizes matching up to some of the names written on the board.
This year, a kids Perch Board will be available and function in much the same way as the 50 Fish Board.
Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club Secretary Ken Durdahl said the Perch Board will feature a fishing rod-and-reel for one winner, and there will be a few cash prizes on the board, as well.
A lunch wagon will be available during the derby and will offer traditional fare, such as brats, hot dogs, hot chocolate, coffee, and pop.
As the end of the derby nears, competitors prepare for the ice chiseling and power auger contest, which begins at approximately 3 p.m.
Contestants may try their technique with a power gas auger, a power electric auger, a hand auger, or a hand chisel.
Durdahl believes this has been a great year for ice.
“It froze early, and it froze hard,” he said. “There’s not much snow on the ice, and it went deep because of lots of cold weather.”
Durdahl, who said he has been a member of the Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club for 45 to 50 years, believes weather in the 20-degree area would be about perfect.
He indicated the contest will take place no matter how low the temperature goes, however. He urges people to wear boots, not just tennis shoes.
Cold raffle cash
A big part of the fishing derby is the raffle that takes place each year. Raffle tickets still cost $2 each, and are available at Joe’s Sports Shop, The Country Store, and from any Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club member. They will also be available on site the day of the derby.
Many prizes are slated to be raffled off, but the grand prize winner takes home a real whopper: an Ice Castle Fish House measuring 6.5 feet by 12 feet, on wheels.
The first prize in the raffle drawing is an ion electric ice auger. Second and third place raffle winners take home framed prints, and many other prizes will be given out, as well.