Event drew 700 fishermen to the lake last year.
With 700 registered men, women and children participating in the event, the Sleepy Eye Sportsman’s Club Fishing Derby set a new record last year. And maybe, just maybe, that record will be broken again.
“I enjoy seeing everyone coming out to have fun,” explained Lynn Krenz, a member of the Sleepy Eye Sportsman’s Club. “But it really just depends on the weather.”
The event scheduled for Feb. 7 begins at noon on Sleepy Eye Lake, though participants are encouraged to arrive early to get a prime spot. After paying the $5 registration fee, fishermen are then encouraged to go at it and fish to their hearts’ content.
Prizes will be given for the four largest fish caught in two categories, game fish and pan fish. Game fish include northerns, bass, catfish and walleyes. Pan fish include sun fish, perch, crappie and bluegills.
The top four prizes in each category include a trophy and cash reward. The first place winner will receive $30, second place $25, third place $20 and fourth place $15.
While the main event is obviously the fishing, there will also be lots of time for other fun activities throughout the three-hour event. These include munching on a lunch of burgers and hotdogs and possibly winning a prize.
Each person registered in the event will be entered into a door prize drawing. The top prizes for this include a Buddy Heater, a clam fishing chair and an underwater camera.
Throughout the day, a large raffle will also be taking place. Top prizes include a portable fish house, a power ice auger and a Pheasants Forever print. Tickets for this will be available for $5.
Additionally, with a ticket price of only $1, a general raffle will also take place throughout the afternoon. Hundreds of small prizes donated by local businesses will be available to win.
Lynn explained that the Sleepy Eye Sportsman’s Club keeps all the money raised from this event right here in the community. In 2009, between this event and other fundraisers throughout the year, the club gave out $6,050 to local organizations.
Just a few of the groups that benefited from funds in 2009 included Pheasants Forever, the Sleepy Eye Fire Department, Sleepy Eye Public School, St. Mary’s School, Ducks Unlimited, Brown County Parks and the March of Dimes.
“Our main project is Let’s Go Fishing,” said Lynn. “Since the start of the chapter of Let’s Go Fishing here in Sleepy Eye, the Sportsman’s Club has donated over $1,500. We are very proud to help get this project started and to continue to contribute to it.”
Lynn also added that the Sportsman’s Club pays for electricity to aerate Sleepy Eye Lake, youth gun training at the Trap Range and the Brown County Pheasants Forever annual banquet.
Thus, if a day of ice fishing sounds enjoyable to you, the Sportsman’s Club encourages you to come to their Fishing Derby next Sunday. “It’s fun for the whole family,” said Dale Evers, a member of the club.