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22nd Annual

Park Rapids

American Legion Fishing Derby

A special supplement to

Published January 29, 2020

2 Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Park Rapids Enterprise

Angling called off, but $125,000 in prizes will be raffled “The safety of the fishermen, tournament staff and public is first. The American Legion is not going to put anyone at risk by holding an ice tournament under questionable ice conditions,” Benham said. Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes commended the legion for making the right decision. It all boils down to having 15 inches of good, clear ice to hold an event of this magnitude, and we just don’t have it, he said. Anyone who has already purchased their tickets may return their ticket to the American Legion by the end of the business day Friday, Jan. 31 and receive a refund if they chose not to participate in the raffle. File photo The $40 ticket is still A combination of skill and luck help anglers snag fish, for sale at the legion and but the pleasure is also in meeting new fisher folk. numerous ticket outlets. Visit americanlegionand unsafe ice condi- came up through that derby.com or call the tions once that water bad ice.” legion at 732-3360 for

The safety of the fishermen, tournament staff and public is first.

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be a great weekend for snowmobiling,” he added. Except for the fishing contest, all other weekend events will go on

PRIZES: Page 3

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more information. The derby was last called off in 2006 when warm temperatures prevented ice from forming. Benham anticipates that people will still come to town. “It should

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For only the second time in the event’s history, the Park Rapids American Legion’s community ice-fishing contest has been cancelled due to unsafe ice conditions. Early snow – and a lot of it – created very poor, uneven ice on Fish Hook Lake. All fishing prizes will be rolled into the raffle. Organizer Jerry Benham said the fishing derby was cancelled out of concern for public safety. “We curved on the best side of safety,” he said. While there is 15 inches of ice on Fish Hook Lake, “it’s not all good ice,” Benham explained. “I’m going to say there was maybe 8 inches of good ice.” On top of that was about 22 inches of snow, which was physically impossible to plow, he went on to say, “and would cause flooding

Park Rapids Enterprise


Wednesday, January 29, 2020 3

DINING GUIDE Great Northern



$30,000 gift certificate to Park Rapids Ford. From Page 2 Festivities start with the welcome dance at as planned. Prize draw- 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31 at the legion, with ings will begin at 3:30 music provided by a DJ. p.m. at the legion – and Sons of the American the chances of winning a Legion will serve breakprize are greater. fast from 7 to 11 a.m. on “The odds are like one Feb. 1, followed by a Post to 34,” Benham said. 212 auxiliary fundraiser Cash prizes range from lunch from 11 a.m. to 7 $5,000 to $100. A 2020 p.m. The Fisherman’s Ice Castle RV fish house Ball starts at 8 p.m. on will be awarded, along Feb. 1, featuring Front with the grand prize of a Fenders.

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Enterprise file photos

Each year, the Park Rapids American Legion Fishing Derby attracts thousands from throughout the region. Unfortunately, poor ice conditions prohibit fishing this year.

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Enjoy the Derby!


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4 Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Park Rapids Enterprise

Ice safety tips from a man who pulls trucks from lakes the ice has not been as the team goes out onto strong because of recent the ice and will set up For many, Minneso- snows. For example, Tri- next to the vehicle if the ta winter means going State pulled a Chevy Sil- ice is safe. If it is not safe, walking or driving out verado out of Otter Tail they will set up elsewhere, cut the ice, and onto the ice for recre- Lake on Jan. 4. Driving on the ice is pull the vehicle to them ational purposes. While it might seem risky, especially if vehi- before bringing it up. The goal is to recover safe to be out on the ice, cles are following one the Minnesota Depart- another. “I’ve had people the vehicle as soon as ment of Natural Resourc- three in a line,” Thomp- conditions are safe. “I es (DNR) says that “ice is son said, “and the third will not go out on the ice one drops through.” if it’s not safe,” Thompnever 100 percent safe.” When a vehicle does go son said, and “we do not “I have about five words for ice conditions,” through the ice a dive work in the dark.” The cost of recovery said Gary Thompson, the team recovers the vehiowner of Tri-State Div- cle. If someone is trapped depends on what went ing, who recovers every- in the vehicle, the coun- through the ice and how thing in the water from a ty dive team is the one long it takes to recover, 95,000-pound excavator doing the rescue. For vehicle recovery, SAFETY: Page 5 to wedding rings. Thompson’s words: ► Clear ice: The first ice that is made at the beginning of the season and is formed on top of all year. ► Milk ice: When snow and water mix on the ice and refreeze. ► Honeycomb ice: When water starts percolating down into the ice 301 Airport Rd., Hwy 71 South, Park Rapids, MN 56470 and is not safe. “I’ve been 218-237-1525 diving underneath that,” Thompson said, ”and you can see the bubbles.” ► Black ice: When the ice is ready to crack, making it not safe to walk on. ► Oh, no ice: When the ice breaks underneath Parts & Accessories • Heavy Duty and Super Duty the weight of a person or 12 mi. North on vehicle. • Car Haulers • Golf Carts Hwy. 71 to Two Inlets Rd, There have been reports then 7 mi. West • Utility • ATV • Garden Tractor of several vehicles going • Motorcycles • Horsetrailers • Stock Trailers into lake water around 732-3941 • 800-630-8638 the area this winter, as 001823433r1 001823447r1

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Submitted photo

A Tri-State diver comes up from installing a receiver hitch on a Geo Tracker in Pelican Bay Lake.

Proud partner the WELCOME TOof OUR WELCOME TO OUR COMMUNITY COMMUNITY American Legion Good luck atatat the We’llsee see you our We’ll you our raffle drawing. food stand theice. ice. food stand ononthe

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SAFETY From Page 4

anywhere from two to 10 hours. The bigger the vehicle, the longer it takes to get out, and the farther down a diver has to be sent means the higher the cost. Insurance usually covers recovery; full coverage insurance covers the recovery and damage to the vehicle, and liability only covering recovery only. For driving on the lake full coverage insurance is recommended. “Everyone I’ve done this year has been insurance,” Thompson said.” If you don’t have any insurance at all then you’re in trouble.” People need to do their homework and check before going out, then exercising caution once they are out on the ice. Walk with an ice chisel

checking the ice ever little bit, if it goes through it is not safe to keep going. When driving the ice needs to be checked every 75 feet, Thompson said. Safety has more to do with how strong the ice is, rather than how thick it is. “You could have 12 inches of ice and it’s not as strong as 4 inches of ice,” Thompson said.

Minnesota DNR ice safety tips

► Children should stay off ice unless with a parent who checks the ice. ► Ask local bait shops about ice conditions and hazards. ► Ice seldom freezes uniformly and weakens as it thaws; check at regular intervals. ► Avoid alcohol. It affects decision-making.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 5

► Carry ice picks or large mails in case you breakthrough. ► Avoid pressure ridges and areas with currents (such as channels). ► Use caution driving on ice. Roll a window down and unlock doors. ► If you break through, get out fast!

What makes weak ice?

Ice can be weakened by a number of things, said Gary Thompson, owner of Tri-State Diving. ► Moving water under the ice ► Air pocket in the ice ► Beavers working ► Fish under the ice ► Driving too much or too fast across the ice ► Cracks in the ice ► Heavy snow on the ice ► Being too close to shore or cattails

Courtesy photo

A 2016 Chevrolet Silverado truck was pulled from Otter Tail Lake Jan. 4. Tri-State Diving has pulled several vehicles and implements from area lakes this winter.


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6 Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Park Rapids Enterprise

Remember your neighbors when ice fishing lures excel at producing fish in a crowd. Drop them to the bottom a couple of times and raise them up a foot or so pausing just off the bottom. For hooks and lures tipped with minnows, clip the fins and hook the minnow lightly on the bottom of the belly, forcing the minnow to struggle to right itself. If weeds are nearby, make sure your minnow doesn’t swim into the weeds, hiding from fish passing by. Simple stuff sure to make a difference. Changing locations within the crowd, like try and find holes within the

Gary Korsgaden/For the Enterprise

At a recent ice fishing derby, Maddi Dombrovski took home the honor of the largest fish with a 42” northern pike.


he first SatTim Schmid, urday in Feblocal ice fishing ruary usually expert from Walkpromises to be a ing on Water Outgreat day on the ice doors, offers a few for those attendtips that just might ing the Amerimake your time on can Legion Fishthe ice more sucing Derby on Fish cessful. GARY Hook Lake. “I honestly KORSGADEN About Thousands of mean this when Outdoors I say don’t forget fishing enthusiasts about those sitenjoy great food, ting next to you. dancing and an awards presentation for a Fishing has always been weekend of fun. The derby and always will be about offers some of the largest the people you’re fishing purses in Minnesota with with,” Schmid says. “With over $125,000 in cash and thousands of anglers conprizes. There is a raffle, gregated in one area, take with large prizes, even if time to walk around and meet new friends and you’re not fishing.

enjoy the day and those around you.” When it comes to the actual fishing part, Schmid tries to imagine what it looks like under the ice to the fish. “At the opening horn, there is an awful lot of noise and fishing pressure where there wasn’t yesterday. I try to go as natural as I can, meaning small jigs or plain hooks preferring live bait,” he said. The smallest in adjustments or details make a world of difference. Don’t be content with not catching any fish – many times you need to make it happen and that means chang-

ing lures, presentations or even spots. Remember, even though the noise may scare finicky walleyes, it does attract others like pike and perch. Think along the lines of “look at me” when it comes to lure selection and getting fishing to take a look see. When Tim thinks of what the scenery looks like under the ice, he concentrates on making his offerings stand out from the crowd. Lures and hooks tipped with live bait get noticed if they have a bit of silver or gold flash to them. A silver spoon with a red hook is a good choice. Jigging

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legal fishing area closest to deep water. Larger fish, like walleyes and northern pike, will seek safety that deep, dark water provides. Learn from others, especially pay attention to kids. At times, they come up with some of the most unorthodox productive fish catching offerings. These are not limited to, but include canned corn on a hook or a piece of hot dog on the hook of a spoon – proven fish-catching techniques missed by most of us experienced anglers. If all else, grab a cup of hot chocolate, sit back and enjoy the day.

Enjoy The Fishing Derby!

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Park Rapids Enterprise

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 7

Different fish Ice fishing is an easy sport to try species swim in our area lakes

Northern pike


Have fun at the Derby!

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Waxworms and nightcrawlers/worms can entice sunfish. Panfish also like spikes and eurolarvae, which look like small colored waxworms. Scoop: A big ladle with holes in it. Use it to scoop a minnow out of the bait bucket and keep your holes clear of ice. Sled:  Almost always a necessity for hauling gear

to your spot. Use a stable, wide sled with edges to keep things from falling off. Bucket: The five-gallon kind. In fact, bring several. They can be used as seats (with or without special “lids” you can find at many sporting good stores) and are a great place to stow your catch.

Enjoy the Derby!



Tip-Ups: Special fishing “poles” for ice fishing. There are several types but basically one stick holds the device above the hole and the second stick has the line and hook/weight or jig attached to it. Jiggle Stick:  Nothing more than a really short fishing pole used to move (jig) the bait up and down to attract fish. This is a technique usually used for panfish, such as crappie and bluegill but can work with other species. Tackle:  Don’t pull out your summer tackle box. For tip-ups, heavyweight braided line and jigs with different colored heads work well. Leaders are seldom needed, even for northern pike. For jiggle sticks (or those really short fishing poles), use clear ice fishing line of 2 to 4 pound test. Generally speaking, lighter line is better  –  it’ll be easier to recognize when a fish bites. Bait:  Live minnows work well for walleye and northern. Use smaller minnows for crappie.


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You’ll find this voracious predator in nearly every Minnesota lake and stream. It’s one of the easiest fish to catch because it so willingly bites lures or bait. And – big or small – they’re one of Minnesota’s most fun fish to catch. The quickest way to tell a northern pike from a muskie is to note that the northern has light markings on a dark body background, while muskies generally have dark markings on a light background. A foolproof method is to count the pores on the underside of the jaw: the northern has five or fewer; the muskie has six or more. Northerns also have rounded tail fins, compared to the pointy tail fins of a muskie.

The basics


Several fish species that could be caught during the ice-fishing tournament. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provides some information about some of the most common fish in the state’s lakes.

Seeking everything from the hallowed walleye and easy panfish to northern pike and eelpout, about 10 percent of Minnesota’s 1.5 million license-holding anglers head back to the lakes once they freeze. Minnesota can, after all, boast the world’s largest ice-fishing contest and put a long-underwear twist on spring break. Never tried ice fishing? Don’t let fanatics, winter weather or the mindboggling array of gear intimidate you. At its roots, ice fishing ranks among the more basic outdoors sports and can accommodate any skill level. Considering you don’t need a boat to get on the water, winter fishing can be more accessible, too. With only a handoperated auger, a fishing pole, lure and a five-gallon bucket to sit on, you can try the sport. If you prefer more comfort, Minnesota excels in that arena, too, with some of the nation’s top suppliers of ice fishing shelters and a full gamut of gear.


8 Wednesday, January 29, 2020

SPECIES From Page 7


Minnesota has several sunfish species, but the most popular with anglers are the bluegill and the pumpkinseed. The bluegill, Minnesota’s largest and most popular sunfish, is found in about 65 percent of the state’s lakes and many of its slow streams, including the backwaters of the Mississippi.

prize among anglers. Each year, anglers in Minnesota keep roughly 3.5 million walleyes totaling 4 million pounds. The average walleye caught and kept is about 14 inches long and weighs slightly more than 1 pound. The walleye is named for its pearlescent eye, which is caused by a reflective layer of pigment, called the tapetum lucidum, that helps it see and feed at night or in murky water. To ensure that lakes produce enough walleyes to keep up with growing angler demand, the DNR protects habitat, limits the catch through regulations, and stocks fish where natural reproduction is limited and other desirable fish species will not be harmed. In recent years, the DNR has also instituted special regulations that protect medium-sized walleyes on several lakes to increase the average size of walleyes that anglers can catch.

Crappie Walleye

The walleye is the most sought-after fish in Minnesota. Its thick, white fillets, handsome shape and coloring, and elusive nature make it the ultimate

Crappie are some of Minnesota’s most popular fish. Though the walleye is the state fish, crappies and bluegills are caught most often. Crappies bite readily and produce sweet-tasting fillets. There are actually two types of crappies: the black and the white. They

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are tough to tell apart. Both travel in schools and feed on small fish and aquatic insects.


More than 2,000 Minnesota lakes support selfsustaining largemouth bass populations. More than 500 support smallmouth bass. And don’t forget rivers like the Mississippi. Largemouth: This is one of the scrappiest fish that swims. An increasing number of anglers throughout the state are learning that largemouth bass, with their jolting strikes and wild airborne leaps, are an exciting fish to catch. And increasingly, Minnesota is becoming nationally known for its largemouth bass. Largemouth bass look similar to their close cousin, the smallmouth. Often they are found in the same waters. To tell the two apart, look at the closed mouth. If it extends back beyond the back of the eye, the fish is a largemouth. If it goes only to the middle of the eye, it’s a smallmouth. Rock: Stout and heavy in comparison to the sunfishes and crappies, the rock bass has red eyes and brassy flanks with black spots. A large rock bass measures about 10 inches and weighs about a pound. The rock bass prefers boulder and sand bottoms. It eats small fish, insects, crayfish and other invertebrates. Smallmouth: Sometimes called a “bronzeback” for its brassy brown hue, the smallmouth is one of the strongest fish for its weight. Many anglers who hook a 2-pounder will swear it’s twice that big until the fish is in the net.

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Park Rapids American Legion Fishing Derby 2020  

Park Rapids American Legion Fishing Derby 2020