Sportsmen’s Club to hold 39th Annual Fishing Derby Sunday, Feb. 7

Deb Moldaschel
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

The COVID-19 pandemic loomed over whether a fishing contest could be held this winter, but now plans are settled for the Sleepy Eye Sportsmen’s Club 39th Annual Fishing Derby on Sleepy Eye Lake Sunday, Feb. 7. The Minnesota DNR recently informed the club that the contest was a go—with a Covid Preparedness Plan required.

Club member Lynn Krenz said they want to stress to everyone who plans to come to the lake for the fishing contest, that the Covid regulations  adopted must be followed. These are what we’ve all come to understand—wear a mask and maintain social distance from those not in your household.

A scene from last year's Fishing Derby on Sleepy Eye Lake.

Another rule the club has adopted isn’t new. Again this year no cars or trucks will be allowed on the lake. Krenz said ATVs and Side-by-Sides are allowed and club members will be around with their own to help pull fishing shelters on to the lake. He said their guys will also be out drilling holes for the ice fishing enthusiasts.  

Traditionally, the lake is packed with those who fish and those who just come for the atmosphere. This year the contest is limited to the first 250 registered individuals, however others who wish to fish that day, or participate in the raffles, are allowed on the lake. There will be several registration locations to allow for proper social distancing. 

The Sportsmen’s Club will not have a food stand this year, but door prizes and three raffles will go on during the day. The Grand Prize Raffle, with a first prize of an Ice Castle Fish House, is always popular—with raffle tickets sales that started in the summer and will continue at the lake, both Saturday for those who bring their fish houses early, and on Sunday. 

The fishing contest runs from noon to 3 p.m. (registration begins at 9:30 a.m.) Cash prizes will be awarded in six categories—Sunfish, Crappie, Perch, Bass, Walleye, and Northern. 

Winners of the contest and winners of the raffles will be announced on radio, 89.1 FM, to reduce foot traffic and congregating at the announcement areas. (Winners of both will also be posted on the Sleepy Eye Sportsmen’s Club Facebook page.)

This Sportsmen’s Club event is supported by many local and area business sponsors, and volunteers, who help make the Fishing Derby such a successful event. The profits from the Fishing Derby, and from the two soup and sandwich luncheons the club holds each December and March, are donated to local parks and lake projects, including generous support of the Sleepy Eye Sportsmen’s Boating Bobbers program and a new high school Trap Shooting Team for boys and girls who are students at the two local high schools. 

The Sportsmen’s Club will do its best to provide a safe environment and enforce social distancing techniques by participants of the fishing contest and ask that everyone cooperate in this endeavor. It is understood that attendees accept the risks that naturally occur in public places.