It is time for ice fishermen to load up their ice fishing gear and head to Saratoga Lake in Wyoming on January 19-20 for the 30th annual Saratoga Ice Fishing Derby sponsored by the Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce. Derby hours are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Fishermen can prove their skills while competing for over $7,000.00 in cash prizes. The big prize money for catching the largest fish during the two-day derby is $2,000, while second place is $1,000, and $500 for third place.
Hourly cash awards of $100 will be awarded for the largest fish measured that hour. An all-new Women’s Division was added this year with their own $100 per hour cash prizes. (Prize winning fish are excluded from the hourly payoff.)
Small fry (under age 14) can enter the Small Fry contest for a chance to win the grand prize of $100 plus a merchandise package. Hourly awards of $20 are also given for the largest fish caught each hour, except the grand prize-winning fish is exempt from the hourly prize.
Fantastic door prizes are also given each hour. Winners will be drawn at random and names displayed at Derby Headquarters. Prizes must be claimed by 2 p.m. Sunday.
Fishermen should also keep their eyes open for the bounty fish, a fish with a pink tag behind the dorsal fin. The first bounty fish to be caught during the derby is worth $500; the second one caught is $250; and the third caught is $50. Bounty fish are not eligible for hourly or other prize money. All derby rules apply.
The Derby will honor “Kings and Queens of the Derby” as a nod to earlier years’ festivities. Fishermen are also encouraged to share stories of past derbies at 5:30 p.m., on Saturday evening and check out the “Hole of Fame” — maybe their name will be on the list.
The “Best Fishing Story” will give fishermen a chance to share their hard luck experience during the 2013 Derby — about the one that got away, or a close call with death! Stop in at the Tent to share the story, which may be judged on the emotional tugging of the heartstrings, and likelihood of being true. The winning story will be added to the Chamber web site.
Back by popular demand, a “Best Hut” contest for the most creative, eye-catching and yet still legal fish hut will win Braggin’ Rights for a Year! Many other surprises are in store for this year’s anniversary.
Food and beverage concessions are available at the lake all weekend, too.
Registration is $30 for adult anglers and $10 for Small Fry. Anglers can register at the Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber office at 210 West Elm Street in Saratoga during office hours and on Friday night, January 18 until 8 p.m., or at the lake Saturday morning starting at 6 a.m. Registration can also be done at local retail stores in Saratoga and Riverside that sell fishing licenses.
Stacy Crimmins, Chamber Executive Director says, “ We are going to use technology that didn’t exist 30 years ago to our advantage this year. We will post updates on the winners on the Bigfoot99 Facebook page and have a live remote broadcast from the radio station, thanks to Union Cellular. We have great reception out at the lake.”
For more information, please call (307) 326-8855 or visit SaratogaChamber.info. ❖