Busy time for ice fishing derbies
By Hookemharry

Posted: January 29, 2008

Ice fishing in Montana is well underway with tournament fishing going strong every weekend, including several tournaments to head the list in Western Montana in February.

“We are gearing up for the 6th Annual Perch Pounder,” said Gene Fincher, derby organizer. “The derby starts Friday, Feb. 1, and runs through Feb. 28, seven days a week.”

Participants may fish any body of water, including river sloughs, in FWP Region One in Northwest Montana. It costs $15 to enter and the Perch Pounder will have weekly prizes for first and second places for the largest individual perch caught.

Three years ago, the state record for perch was broken when Josh Emmert caught a 2.389 pounder during the derby.

“The first angler to beat that state record will receive an additional $500,”, said Fincher. On Saturday, Feb. 18, the tourney will end at 3 p.m. and at that time the top five places will receive prize money. The wrapup will be held at the derby headquarters at the Scoreboard Pub and Casino in Kalispell.

For more information call you may call Fincher at 261-6445 or the Scoreboard at 756-8888. “I will be weighing fish in from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day,” said Fincher. The Perch Pounder is a 100 payback to angers plus just by registering you will have a chance to win part of thousands of dollars in door prizes that were donated by area merchants.

The largest ice tournament in the Flathead Valley will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 7-8. The annual McGregor Lake Resort derby will be held on McGregor Lake, west of Kalispell on Highway 2.

There are two categories, rainbow and lake trout. This derby is always fun. One of the unique things that happens in some years is that there is open water along with ice when the event takes place. Derby participates then have to decide what method they will be using to fish, ice fish or fish from a boat.

Dick Zimmer, from Pablo, said you could expect close to 1,000 competitors. For more information on how to fish the lake, call Zimmer at 675-0068 or for derby information, call 858-2253.

In case you might have missed the results of the Pike On Ice derby which was held on Salmon and Seeley Lake a couple of weekends ago, Ralph Fockerzi from Missoula took first place with a 13-pound, 7-ounce northern pike. Don Church of Missoula grabbed second place with a 10-pound, 11-ounce pike, third place went to 13-year-old McKenzie Weber of Great Falls with an 8-pound, 14-ounce pike and Cory Tafelmeyer from Cut Bank took fourth with an 8-pound, 3-ounce pike.

A total of 82 anglers competed in this year’s Pike on Ice. If you would like to view pictures of the winners and their fish log onto www.montanaoutdoor.com and click on the Fishing Info page.