Northwest Montana just completed a very successful Ice derby and they are in the middle of another ice derby that will end next Saturday February 26. While other areas of Montana are having difficulty in keeping scheduled ice contests going because of weather curveballs thrown by Mother Nature, that hasn’t been the case in Region 1 so far this winter.
“The contestants are lined up for about 100 yards to register for the tournament,” reported Gene Fincher live on last Saturday mornings Montana Outdoor Radio Show, as he watched last minute ice anglers sign up for the annual McGregor Lake Ice fishing derby. When all the contestants were counted they added up to 716 competing in the two day tournament. That is a lot of folks having fun on the ice. They fished and competed for two categories one for lake trout and the other for rainbow trout. First place in the lake trout was Jagon Chevez at 16.05 pounds, second place was Ed Baldi 9.11 pounds and third place was awarded to Terry Riley with a 9.06 pound lake trout. In the rainbow trout division Mike Seynei caught a 12.02 pound trout, Chris Klinger took second place with 4.01 pound trout and Lavar Gough caught a 3.09 pound trout. “It was a great derby again and to top it off we raised $525 for the Kids Hooked on Fishing program,” said Fincher.
The other derby that is currently in progress is called the Perch Pounder. It is based out of the Scoreboard Pub and Casino in Kalispell. “I have never seen so many big perch caught this early in the tournament, “added Fincher who is the Pounder organizer, “A lot of perch appear ready to spawn”. It is the 8th annual and has just completed its second week. The largest perch entered so far just missed beating the state record perch. It was caught by Jack Hagel and the fish weighed in at 2.186. That is a large fish by any species especially for a perch. Incidentally the current state record perch weighs 2.39 pounds and was caught in this derby 5 years ago in 2006 by Josh Emmert out of Lower Stillwater Lake. Rounding out the top five places is a familiar name to tournament contestants; Terry Riley. Riley entered a 1.928 pound perch. Third place is Stan Ross another local successful angler who has entered a 1.874 pound perch and fourth place so far goes to Gary Hemb at 1.858 pounds followed closely by David Bell with a 1.800 pound perch. The Perch Pounder is a unique tournament, in the fact, that it runs for 26 consecutive days. Anglers can enter their fish seven days a week at the Scoreboard Pub and Casino in Kalispell. The final day for the Pounder will Saturday February 26th with an award ceremony and fish fry at the Scoreboard Pub. Anglers can enter the Perch Pounder up until the morning of the last day.
By Montana Grant
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