Fishing derby to offer new tagged fish for bonus prize – Laramie Boomerang
The stakes are a little higher this year for the Laramie Plains Lions Club Lake Hattie Ice Fishing Derby.
In addition to prize money for the five largest fish and the smallest fish, one lucky angler could walk away with a cash prize for catching a new tagged fish.
“If that fish is caught, it’s an additional $2,000,” said organizer Lew Lyon.
The annual event is a Laramie tradition that takes place the first full weekend of the New Year. Now in its 24th year, the derby is set for 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 7 and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Jan. 8 at Lake Hattie, which sits about 20 miles west of Laramie near the base of Sheep Mountain.
The largest fish of the derby wins $1,500, followed by $1,000, $350, $200 and $100. The smallest fish wins $25. Size is determined by measuring the length and girth, with weight used as a tie-breaker.
In the youth division, the largest fish wins $150 and a trophy, followed by $100, $50 and $25, with the smallest fish also worth $25.
Tickets are $35 for adults and $5 for youth accompanied by a participating angler. Tickets are available at West Laramie Fly Store, 1657 Snowy Range Road. Fishing licenses for 2017 are required and also now available for purchase.
The derby is the main fundraiser of the year for Laramie Plains Lions Club, which uses proceeds to support a variety of different programs.
“We’re raising funds for the various projects we support in the community and the state,” Lyon said.
The club supports the Downtown Clinic and local 4-H and FFA projects. Members collect eyeglasses, conduct vision screenings and help people purchase glasses. The club also supports a camp near Casper and the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank in Aurora, Colorado, which helps facilitate eye tissue transplants.
“They collect and distribute corneas,” he said.
Lyon said anglers have reported 8-10 inches of ice on Lake Hattie as of mid-December, though the surface is rough because of strong winds causing the water to shift.
“We just keep hoping for this cold weather to stay here until after the derby,” he said.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department advises anglers to be very careful when venturing onto ice.
It should be at least f4 inches thick if clear or twice that if cloudy or white.
Clear ice is stronger than cloudy or white ice, which has thawed and refrozen and isn’t always stable. Ice can also be white from air bubbles or frozen snow, which makes it much weaker.
Anglers should check the thickness of the ice every 100-150 feet and avoid fissures or significant cracks.
Fluctuating water levels and wind can create dangerous ice conditions, and anglers should scout their lake for overflow, wet areas or open water. Anglers can also call a regional Game and Fish office for information about conditions.
Game and Fish advises against driving motorized vehicles onto lakes or ice fishing on rivers or moving water, even if it has frozen over.
Anglers should never fish alone and should always wear a personal floatation device and carry an ice pick. They should pack a change of clothes and hot liquids in case of an accident.
Lake Hattie is stocked annually by Game and Fish, and anglers will find yellow perch, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brown trout and kokanee salmon.
The lake is included in a special ice fishing provision, which allows anglers to fish with up to six lines, as long as they are attended.
“We’re looking for a great turnout this year and wishing all the anglers great luck in catching the big one,” Lyon said.
IF YOU GO …
What: Laramie Plains Lions Club Lake Hattie Ice Fishing Derby
When: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 7 and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Jan. 8
Where: Lake Hattie
How much: $35 for adults and $5 for youth
More info: www.e-clubhouse.org/sites/laramieplains
Tickets: West Laramie Fly Store, 1657 Snowy Range Road