The tournament is scheduled for Saturday, January 13th, 2024, from 12:00 – 2:00 pm on Spirit Lake in Menahga, MN. Contestants are prohibited from entering the fishing area prior to 10:00 am. Should a permit not be issued due to insufficient ice conditions or travel unadvised due to inclement weather, the date may be pushed back, or the prizes will be drawn for. No refunds will be issued. Cost of entry is a $5.00 raffle ticket per person/contestant.
The top 20 fishing prizes, 10 in each of two categories, are determined by largest weight and time of registration. In the case of a tie, the first fish registered takes priority. The 3rd largest fish of the event wins $50 for 3rd place, plus the $500 prize for 3rd largest overall. Other prizes will be 1st - $100, 2nd - $75, 3rd - $50 and 4th–10thplace - $25 each. Only licensed anglers/minors may register a fish.
A contestant may register only one fish in each category but may bump a small fish with a larger. 20 tackle boxes will be awarded to the first 20 game fish registered – please only one per contestant.
All fish must be brought to the weigh-in station immediately and must be alive and in water. Please bring a bag or bucket as dead or frozen fish are ineligible. All fish will be returned to the lake alive.
Contestants are only permitted to fish one hole with-in the designated fishing area, and a marked ticket is required at the weigh-in station. Contestants may set bobber depths prior to the starting siren, but no bait or lines can be left in the water before the start of the derby.
Portable shelters, i.e., pop-up, sled flip-type (no wheelhouses) will be permitted the day of the derby and must be brought thru the check-in station and are subject to inspection as are coolers and buckets. A door must be left open until the starting siren. Augers are allowed but must be shut down at 11:55 am for the singing of The National Anthem. C&C hole drillers will be present on the ice prior to the siren and will drill holes as needed. Please, no drilling on the plowed walkways or emergency plowed perimeter. Depth finders and underwater cameras are allowed, no spears allowed.
No motorized vehicles, including snowmobiles, ATV/UTVs are allowed within the designated fishing area. Contest Officials and Emergency Personnel are the only ones allowed to use motorized vehicles. Handicap accessibility will be accommodated the day of the derby with parking provided in designated areas, all other parking will be on city streets and parking lots. Contestants may drop off gear/persons at the top of the boat landing (entry point) and go find parking – shuttles will not be provided.
Tickets will be available at the top of the boat landing. All contestants must enter thru the designated entry point and have their tickets marked. Anyone who leaves the derby area must re-enter at the check point. Permanent houses, either inside or outside the derby are considered out-of-bounds and entry is grounds for disqualification. Contestants are responsible for their own safety, actions, and property at all times. Alcohol is not permitted as this is a Family Fishing Derby.
All fishing laws of the State of Minnesota will be abided by. Please be aware that all Northern Pike from 22” – 26” must be immediately released and can NOT be brought up to the weigh-in station. Failure to comply with any contest rule subjects the contestant to disqualification and removal from the derby site, as determined by the contest officials. Tournament results remain unofficial until verified by the head judge. The decision of the judge is final. All contestants and others hereby consent the use of any names, photographs, or likeness of themselves to be used in all promotion of our contest.
www.menahga.com is the official website with updates and information pertaining to the contest.
Q: Are tickets available the day of the event?A: Yes, any remaining tickets will be available for sale at the top of the boat landing, cash or check only – NO ATM on site.
Q: Can I fish more than one hole?A: You are permitted to move around the designated fishing area and fish any available hole, but are permitted only one line per person, regardless of the number of tickets in possession.
Q: Is bait available on the ice?A: Yes, both wax worms and minnows are available on the ice. The minnows are pre-bagged in a “Derby Pack” for approximately $3-5.00.
Q: Is food/drink available on the ice, can I bring my own?A: No need to bring your own (but you can), the Menahga High School Trap Team will be providing hot food and beverages. Please – NO alcohol as this is a Family Event.
Q: Are there events for my kids before/during the derby?A: Yes, our Menahga National Honor Society will have games for kids of all ages with prizes starting around 10:30 am.
Q: I understand we can use portable (pop-up, flip style) fish house, what about electronics and my own auger?A: Correct, we do allow portable fish house that must come thru our entry point and be inspected, and you must keep a door open until the starting siren. You are permitted to use your own auger and electronics are also permitted. We will have volunteers drilling holes also.
Q: Do I need a MN Fishing License for your Derby?A: Yes, you need to abide by all MN DNR Regulations, however, our event does coincide with the 2024 “Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend” where Minnesotans can fish without licenses if they take children 15 or younger fishing (from DNR website).
Q: Does any species qualify to be caught/weighed?A: We run two (2) categories of fish, that you may enter in. Category One is for Northern, Bass and Walleye –remember all Northers 22”-26” must be immediately released and can NOT be weighed. Category Two is for panfish, Crappie, Sunfish/Bluegill and Perch. Most fishermen start out for Perch/Sunfish to win one of the 20 tackle boxes given away, then target Bass or Northern. You may register only one fish in each category but can bump up in weight.
Q: What time can I enter the contest area, and can I check depths?A: No entry prior to 10:00 am. All contestants must be checked at the entry point at the bottom of the public boat ramp. You are welcome to check depth and set your bobber stops prior to the starting siren, but NO lines can be in the water. Most people keep their baited hook in their bait pail ready to drop at the start of the Derby. Anyone caught fishing prior to the siren will be disqualified and asked to leave.
Q: How do I register a fish?A: When you enter the Derby area, one of your tickets will be marked and must be brought up to the weigh station (Red/White fish house under the American Flag) with your fish. Our Derby is a Catch – Weigh – Release event, so all fish entered MUST be brought up in water. Put them in a bucket, bait pail or plastic bag with adequate water to keep them healthy. Fish out of water will be sent back with you as part of your daily bag limit but will NOT be registered.
Q: How old do I have to be to win a prize?A: Our contest is a “Family Fishing Derby” open to all ages. We give a prize to the youngest and oldest person on the ice. The fishing prizes and attendance prizes are open to all ages, however, the raffle prizes must be purchased and claimed by someone 18 years or older.
If you’re coming as a group, drop your group and gear at the top of the landing and then go to park your vehicle.Have your attendance stubs already separated before getting to the entry, hand them along with one ticket per fisherperson to the security personnel.
Keep your marked ticket in a separate pocket from others you may have. You will need it to register any fish caught. You will need any other tickets handy to claim a door prize.
When it's your turn to be checked in, open any closed container/buckets that may hold water/bait. Fill your container before you catch a fish and have it ready to go.
Be sure to come claim your door prize when your number is called as we only call them 3-4 times before drawing a new number. You need to have the matching ticket to show them at the prize booth. Our Grand Prize Ice Castle is the door prize booth.
If you bring your own auger, stick around as we try to do an auger contest immediately following the ending siren while we verify the fish weights and placings. Another chance to take home a prize!
If the lake is flooding due to heavy snow (most likely this year), don’t shovel the snow away, pack it down and sit inside an extra kids sled, and wear good/water-proof boots.
For additional information please text or call Dave @ 218.255.0706, or call Justin @ 218.564.4171.
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