You don’t have to fish to enjoy ice fishing derbies

The holidays are history and the last of the leftovers gone, but now comes the reality that all that remains is our Winter proper season, which can sometimes last until Easter. Unless you’re one of those “snowbirds” that temporarily migrates to the Sunbelt during this span, the time, waiting for Spring to arrive can tend to drag a bit.

Of course this isn’t true with avid snowmobilers, skiers and ice fishermen. Rather than go into self-imposed indoor hibernation, they relish the cold and snow. And a sure sign that we’re entering that mid-winter phase is the arrival of popular ice fishing derbies. The real beauty of these events is you don’t even have to be an ice fishermen to enjoy them, as they’re like large, friendly parties on the ice. Two area ones that have become very popular are the Crappie Derby at Whitney Point and the Lions Club’s Perch Derby at Chenango Lake.

According to Dave Hughes, derby chairman, the 2011 running of the almost-annual New York State Crappie Derby is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011. The Derby is a family oriented event that allows everyone to get outdoors after a couple of months of being cooped up inside. Although it is primarily an Ice Fishing event, other attractions will also be provided for spectators. There are usually far more spectators present than registered contestants. Prize categories exist for those not successful in catching fish.

The entry fee is $2 for those over 12 years – free 12 and under. It is sponsored by the Whitney Point Sportsmen’s Association and the Broome County Department of Parks and Recreation. Free parking is available at Dorchester Park in Whitney Point as well as Kiebel Road extension on the west side of Whitney Point Lake. Thousands of dollars in prizes will be awarded throughout the day with a significant amount set aside for the kids. We’ll find a reason to give them a prize.

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