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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Sportsmen's Club expecting big turnout for ice fishing derby

  • While the Broncos and the Seahawks focus on catching a football on Super Bowl Sunday, locals will be focusing on catching fish.
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  • While the Broncos and the Seahawks focus on catching a football on Super Bowl Sunday, locals will be focusing on catching fish.
     
    The Sleepy Eye Sportsmen’s Club will host the 32nd annual ice fishing derby on Feb. 2 on Sleepy Eye Lake. Anglers will have from noon until 3 p.m. to try and catch the largest fish with prizes and trophies on the line.
     
    Sportsmen’s Club President Mike Hasse said he expects another good turnout this year.
     
    “Normally we have anywhere from 400-500 register for fishing, but we have a lot more bystanders than that,” Hasse said.
     
    Registration for fishing is $5, and those registered will be entered in a drawing to win a Clam Fish House, a Buddy Heater and other prizes. The drawing will take place at 2:30 p.m. Kids registered to fish will be given a free door prize until the prizes are gone.
     
    Prizes and trophies will be given for the four largest fish in the game fish and pan fish categories. Some of the larger prizes include a FL18 Vexilar Fish Locater, a Pheasants Forever Print, and an electric auger, each valued over $400.
     
    Hasse said lake conditions will be perfect for the event.
     
    “There’s plenty of ice out there,” Hasse said. “Probably anywhere from 18-24 inches thick.”
     
    Hasse mentioned some anglers are getting extensions for their ice augers in order to drill all the way through the ice. He also said members of the Servicemen’s Club will help drill holes and transfer people off and on the lake if needed.
     
    “We’d like to have everybody kind of park toward shore if we can, just to try and keep most people off the lake just in case there was an emergency or something,” Hasse said. “We try to avoid getting too crowded out there if we can help it.”
     
    In addition, holes will be drilled near the registration booth so after fish are measured and weighed they can be released.
     
    “We would appreciate catch and release,” Hasse said.
    Along with the door prize drawing, a $10 raffle drawing will take place following the derby. Top prize for this drawing will be a 2013 500 cc Can-Am ATV Outlander with trailer. Cash prizes will be given to the next seven winners. Tickets will be available for purchase at the day of the event or at local businesses before the event. Winners of either of the raffle drawings don’t need to be present to win.
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    A lot of local anglers have already set up their portable ice houses in preparation for the event. All house types will be allowed at the tournament. There will also be free bait for participants to use if they wish, courtesy of McCabe’s Ace Hardware in Sleepy Eye along with NAPA and Runnings in New Ulm.
     
    The derby is the Sportsmen’s Club’s largest fundraiser of the year. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase. Proceeds will help the club continue to support organizations such as the “Lets Go Fishing” pontoon, firearm training and others.
     
    Hasse said his favorite part of the derby is the camaraderie.
     
    “It just brings the community together,” Hasse said. “Everybody comes out here and has a good time.”
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