Off-weather no damper to Rice Lake fish derby

The chilly, rainy day and dead calm water didn’t dampen the spirits of the 337 anglers fishing the 42nd Annual Rice Lake Derby last Sunday, shrouded in fog thick enough to hide a logging truck.

“The size of the fish that come out of this small, shallow lake each year always catches us by surprise,” said Dave Saxon, president and derby spokesman, Lake Linden-Hubbell Sportsmen’s Club.

“The only ones more surprised are the 207 registered adult, 55 junior and 75 kid anglers,” he added, “especially the little kids who run from tickled pink to pumped catching cooperative, willing-to-bite perch, bluegills, sunfish and hammer handle northerns in the weedy shoreline shallows.” Both bank and boat fishermen do well at the Derby.

Jim Cleveland weighed in a burly 36.75-inch, 11-pound, 7-ounce northern to win the Grand Prize. Nathan Freeman’s 26.25-inch, 3-pound, 4-ounce northern won the Adult Pike Category and Ralph Hoffman caught a 26.25-inch, 5-pound, 4-ounce walleye to win that Adult category.

Junior Category first place winners were Charlie Frederick’s 25.4-inch, 2-pound 12-ounce pike and Stephanie Jarvi’s 19-inch, 2-pound, 2-ounce walleye.

Children’s Category first place winners were Peyton Kenney’s 25.25-inch, 2-pound, 14-ounce pike and Braydon Beaudette’s 20-inch, 3-pound, 1-ounce walleye.

The venerable Rice Lake Derby features a festive family vibe with raffles and prizes galore, a beer wagon, hot dogs, brats, refreshments and official weigh-in station at the historic log cabin Clubhouse built in the early 1930s as a Boy Scout Camp. The club was founded in 1921.

Just putting your feet up and enjoying and a hot brat and a cold beer watching kids weigh in their fish in the cozy, log Clubhouse is worth the price of admission, and the hot, non-stop raffle action gives you plenty of opportunity to win cool prizes and contribute to the cause.