Gene Fincher, derby organizer, is expecting over 800 anglers to compete this year up from last years 750-plus. Tournament headquarters will again be Dels Bar in Somers.
First place prize will be $1000 for the largest lake trout over 36 inches. New this year is a bonus if that fish breaks the old state record. The winner will pocket another $500. They also will award five places for 30 inch and under with first place paying out $1000 as well. All places will be by weight of the fish. There will also be three places for 22 inch and under based on a lottery drawing with first place paying $500.
Lake whitefish anglers can also get into the act as they will paying out three places for the largest whitefish caught. Last year, the whitefish bite was hot and anglers entered two tons of whitefish alone. The largest northern pike minnow will be awarded $200.
“Like last year we wanted to add a little more excitement to the tourney so we are tagging ten lake trout before the tourney and releasing them back into the lake”, adds Fincher, “The tagging process will entail putting a computer chip in 10 lake trout 30 inches and under, no one will know if they have a tagged fish until they weigh it in and the fish is scanned”. What happens if someone brings in a tagged fish? “One of the tagged fish is worth $40,000 if it is weighed in August 4 or 5th”, says Fincher, “the other nine fish that are tagged are worth $500 to the angler entering them”
All fish that are brought in and not used for the fish fry that takes place Sunday at 3pm will be donated to the Veterans Food Bank and Somers/Lakeside food bank.
All participants will eligible to win a Smoker Craft boat with a 7.5 horse Johnson motor and trailer. “If we have someone bring in a tagged fish the total prizes and cash to be given away will be over $50,000,” says Fincher. People can register at Dels bar 857-3351 or at Snappys Sports Center in Kalispell or at Zimmers Bait and Tackle in Pablo. You can also contact Fincher and register at 261-6445. For anglers looking for a camping spot for their tent, RV or camper they use the lot across the street free of charge.
“The excitement from the anglers gets better every year for this annual derby,” says Fincher, “We are ready to have a lot of fun and promote fishing on the lake and give out some cash.”
We will be broadcasting live this Saturday morning from the tourney headquarters in Somers on the Montana Outdoor Radio Show from 6-8am. Anglers can also listen to leader board updates in KJJR 880am out of Kalispell Saturday and Sunday.
Fincher is also starting another derby it is called the Whitefish Jig Fest and it will be held on Flathead Lake later in August on the 24-25-26th. The derby headquarters will be at the Vista Linda Cactus Cantina Restaurant just up the hill from the Somers boat ramp. “This derby will be for whitefish only and should be a great derby because the whitefish bite is normally great that time of the year”, said Fincher.