Colorado men win at ice fishing Derby | TheFencePost.com
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Colorado men win at ice fishing Derby

Ella Marie Hayes
Saratoga, Wyo.

Clusters of fishing huts, ranging from well-used shelters to samples of the latest innovative gear, spread over Saratoga Lake for the 2007 Fishing Derby on Saturday, Jan. 20, and Sunday, Jan. 21, 2007. Laughter and chatter echoed across the snowy terrain as the more than 460 anglers and their families enjoyed the camaraderie with their fellow fisherman as they waited in hopes of landing a big fish.

Ryan Hildreth, of Hot Springs, S.D., was top winner for the 23 Saratoga Lake Ice Fishing Derby sponsored by the Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce. Hildreth’s brown trout measured 22.25 inches long and had a gifth of 11 inches for a total score of 33.25. The fish tipped the scale at 3.4 pounds. Hildreth’s fish was the first one brought in on Saturday morning during the 7-8 a.m. hour. Hildreth won a cash prize of $2,000 for his fish.

The second place, $1,000 award, was won by Luke Baysinger of Frederick, Colo. His rainbow measured 20.4 inches long and 11 inches in girth for a total score of 31.4 and weighed 3.08 pounds. All fish are measured by length and girth which are added for a total score. The weight is used as a tie breaker.

Third place award of $500 was won by John Wheeler of Littleton, Colo. His rainbow trout measured 20.6 inches long, 10.75 inches girth and weighed 3 pounds.

Cash prizes were sponsored in part by the Carbon County Visitor’s Council. The largest fish caught each hour also won a $100 cash award.

Carson Keisel of Rawlins, Wyo., was the Small Fry Derby winner this year. This 9-year-old young fisherman has quite a story to tell. He stepped up to his hip in his ice hole trying to get this whopper out.

Keisel’s fish was caught in the 8 a.m. hour Sunday and measured 21.6 inches long and 10.5 inches girth for a total score of 32.1. The fish weighed in at 2.84 pounds.

This fish might have won second place in the derby if Keisel was entered as an adult. But the freckle face red-head beamed anyway as he was awarded a $200 savings bond, and a replica NAPA sales truck and tractor/trailer donated by Saratoga Auto Parts. Small fry fishermen also won hourly prizes of $20 for the largest fish caught during the hour.

None of the 30 tagged bounty fish were caught during the derby. If one of the special fish were caught, the angler would have won $500! Door prizes were drawn each hour and were donated by The Country Store, Shively Hardware, Hack’s Tackle, Kum and Go, Saratoga Do-It-Best Lumber, Saratoga Auto Parts, Blackhawk Gallery and Hat Creek Saddlery. The last hour’s prize of a camp stove was won by David Hughes of Gillette.

The 2007 Ice Fishing Derby at Saratoga Lake is history, but it is certain that there are many more fishermen with tales to tell about their weekend adventure after participating. Many of the anglers won prizes for their efforts, as well as enjoying the fun and the fish they caught.


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