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The annual Community Fishing Contest brings hundreds of anglers out onto the ice each year. (Enterprise photo)

Ice forming well on Fish Hook Lake for 12th annual fishing derby

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Everything is coming together for the 12th annual Park Rapids American Legion Community Fishing Contest Feb. 6 on Fish Hook Lake.

"It's looking good out there," said event organizer Jerry Benham. "We've got plenty of ice."

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More than $100,000 in prizes will be given away. Ticket sales are going well with the contest less than two weeks away, he said.

The weather is the only unknown.

Last year's contest had bad ice with slush on top, he said.

"We're just praying for nice weather by the time the derby comes," Benham said.

He's not worried about slush this year, though, with cold temperatures this week.

The fishing derby is always the first Saturday in February and brings tons of people to the area, Benham said. Typically, there are between 3,000 and 4,000 people on the ice that day, he said. Last year the numbers were down because of the ice conditions.

Besides the opportunity to fish is the chance of winning a raffle prize. The grand prize this year is a 2010 XLT 4x4 Ford truck and $2,000 is awarded to the seller of the winning fish house ticket.

The 10th largest fish caught in any category will win an Ice Castle fish house, with $2,000 awarded to the seller of the winning fish house ticket. Also, $2,000 is awarded to the seller of the most tickets.

Tickets are available at businesses throughout the Park Rapids area and at the American Legion.

Sixty raffle prizes are available. Additional prizes could be won in four fishing categories: Division I: bluegill and crappie; division II: northern, walleye and largemouth bass; perch division; and rock bass division.

Prizes range from cash to a recliner, with many gift certificates.

The annual medallion treasure hunt came to a close earlier this month when Rachel Crandall and her accomplice, Kathie Borg, located the medallion in the birdbath located in front of the former courthouse, home to the Hubbard County Historical Society and North Country Museum of Arts.

The duo can pick up a treasure chest of prizes worth more than $1,000 at the American Legion the day of the derby.

This year, tickets are $40 each.

The fishing derby weekend kicks off with a Post 212 dinner from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5, followed by a welcome dance from 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. with entertainment by "Past Due."

Breakfast will be served from 7-10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 6 at the Legion and a lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Legion.

The fishing contest is from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Fish Hook Lake that afternoon with an awards presentation at 5 p.m. at the American Legion. That evening is the fisherman's ball from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at the Legion.

A Boy Scouts breakfast will be served from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7 to wrap up the weekend.

For more information, contact Benham at 732-9657. For tickets, call 218-732-3360.

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Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
(218) 732-3364
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