(Originally published in the Merritt Herald, January 14, 2009)
© By Othmar Vohringer
On Sunday, hundreds of fisherman, women and children ventured to Mammette Lake for a fun-filled day of ice fishing.
This was the 9th Annual Ice Fishing Derby organized by the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club (NVFGC).
The weather was perfect with a blue sky and brilliant sunshine and by 10 a.m/ the lake was crowded with over 260 people. It was particularly encouraging to see so many children and families in attendance – proving the point that fishing truly is a sport to be enjoyed by the whole family.
Over the years the NVFGC ice fishing derby has become a traditional event with a solid reputation for good organization and generous money and goods prizes.
The event draws participants from Kamloops to Chilliwack and every community in between.
Over the course of the day a slow but steady number of fish arrived at the scale, and by 2:30 p.m., the official end of the derby, over 30 trout and coarse fish were weighed in. The numerous and varied derby prizes were generously provided by Merritt business owners.
During the event, two Conservation Officers were present handing out goodies to all the children. They also provided the concession tent for the event.
Merritt Search and Rescue Team generously provided a second tent, but due to the exceptionally nice weather it wasn’t set up as additional shelter.
The club provided free coffee, hot chocolate and donuts, and for the modest price of $1 hot dogs were available too.
An event of this proportion couldn’t go smoothly without all the fine people in the background volunteering their time and effort in organizing it. The many volunteers from the NVFGC made sure that this year’s ice fishing derby would be remembered by everybody who attended.
Mammette Lake is not known as a trophy fishing lake; but still, the fish that were weighed in were respectable.
The first prize in the children’s trout class weighed in at 2 and 3/8 lbs and second prize went to a young fisher with a beautiful 2 and 1/4 lbs rainbow trout.
The ladies didn’t do too shabby either with the first prize going to a woman with a 3 and 1/8 lbs rainbow that was followed by a 2 and 1/16 lbs trout.
The men didn’t hold back either with first trout prize weighing in at 3 and 11/16 lbs and second a close 3 and 3/8 lbs. In the coarse fish class, a monster sucker weighing a solid 4 and ¾ lbs won first place and second place came close with 4 and 5/8 lbs.
Other prizes included a hidden weight class, a 50/50 draw and many door prizes.
Images courtesy and copyright of Heidi Koehler Photography & Graphic Design
As the chairman of the Ice Fishing Derby I would like to thank personally, and on behalf of the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club, the many volunteers behind the scenes, to numerous to mention individually here, for their time and effort they spent to make this event possible and a memorable experience for everybody I also would like to that the local business for their generous donations of prizes and money. Without your continued support this event would not be possible on such a large scale.
ALPHA Welding Merritt
Grand Hotel, Merritt
Merritt Machine Shop
Black’s Pharmacy, Merritt
BC Hunter Handicraft
City Furniture, Merritt
Ponderosa Archery & Fishing Tackle, Merritt
Home Hardware Store
Western Classic Saddlery and Cowboy Wear. Merritt
Mc Donalds Auto Wreckers, Merritt
Powder Keg Outdoor sporting Goods Store, Merritt
Cooper’s Food Stores, Merritt
Canadian Tire, Merritt
Tim Horton’s, Merritt
Nicola Chainsaw, Merritt
Nicola Sports, Merritt
Ice Fishing Derby Chairman of the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club