Pinedale Boat Club 2015 Big Fish Winter Derby
Wylie won 1st Place on Sunday in the Youth Division for his 3.8 lb, 23 inch Lake trout.
by Terry Allen
March 8, 2015
Blue skies and no wind graced this year’s two – day Big Fish Winter Derby weekend event held at Lakeside Lodge on Fremont Lake on Saturday , February 28th and Sunday, March 1, 2015. Pinedale Boat Club president Kim McKee wasn’t sure, but thought this might be the 65th year anniversary. The past several years have been held in memory of long-time Pinedale Boat Club members and avid fishing enthusiasts, Joe and Flo Retel.
Beginning Saturday morning at 7:00AM, snow machines left their tracks on the surface as they fanned out across the frozen lake in all directions from the lodge. Soon, it looked like communities of brightly colored jelly beans had been scattered across the lake. Echoes of power augers could be head as they drilled surprisingly fast through the two-foot thick ice. Javier Reyes of Green River leaned on his auger and gave a sideways look and said, "No, I ain’t never drilled a hole that wasn’t big enough for the fish."
The generous prize money offered by the club drew entrants from Utah, Colorado, Montana, Arizona, and Idaho, to name just a few.
Prize money for Adult Daily Big Fish:
Grand Prize = $1000.00
2nd Place = $400.00
3rd Place = $200.00
4th Place = $150.00
Brown Trout = $200.00
Rainbow Trout = $100.00
Prize money for Youth Daily Big Fish:
Grand Prize = $100.00
2nd Place = Fishing rod and reel
3rd Place = Fishing gear
Some folks showed up old-school…without a snow machine, a hut, a chair or even a beer, and dropped their bait into abandoned holes hoping for the best. Other folks, like the Lucero and Barney families from Green River, brought just about every convenience from home and made a party of it. There was the food sled-which carried both the fish food and the people food. In this case, the salad shrimp went on the hook and the hot dogs went into Blake Barney and this writer.
Other fishing camps used sucker bait, night crawlers, a glowing tube jig with a bullhead from the crick, Cast masters, meal worms, and assorted secret spoons. On Sunday, Wylie Wilkes, in the Youth category, used a Glow-tube with sucker bait, doused in Anise oil, to land his 1st place winning, 3.8 pound, 23 inch Lake Trout.
There were quite a few folks that used mechanical triggering/hook-setting devices. Blake Barney used a Jaw-Jacker, Anthony Lucero had a Grandpa jig, and Al Wheeler of Torrington used an Orange Tip-up. Every once in a while, someone would yell to their buddy that they better put their beer down and grab their rod.
A few more scientifically-minded folks used fish-finders, set up right in the hole, so they could watch the fish come in. This seemed like a good idea, so there was time to set a hotdog and beer down, instead of no warning at all and spilling it into a lap or the snow in the excitement.
Coke Landers of Cheyenne invited this reporter into his "Hard Water Hang Out" ice fishing shack and said, "Shut the door." A glowing crystal green light came up from the four holes drilled into the ice. We patiently watched and waited for the glowing tube jig and bullhead to attract some attention. No luck.
Killian and Aiden Cane Bucy, ages 8 and 7 of Tucson, Arizona put their lines in, but then busied themselves stacking big chunks of shore ice into a pile, making an ice comet. "The comets name is, Chili," said Aiden. "Once we launch it into space, it will turn into plastic and become a real comet."
Okay, time for some of Kim McKie’s complimentary hot homemade pork chop chili back at the lodge.
On the way back in, Bob Gallas and Dennis Moen were struggling up the snow-covered lawn beside the lodge, pulling a laden fishing sled. "It was the worst two days of fishing we’ve ever had," said Dennis. "But, the beer was cold and good, only thing is, we didn’t have enough."
Back at the lodge, I helped myself to a big steaming bowl of Kim’s delicious pork chop chili and asked her the recipe. She told me, but then said I couldn’t tell anyone. I told her that she was supposed to tell up front if something is off the record. They say everyone has their price…and mine was a second bowl of chili.
Fish after fish came in to be weighed, which was quite a surprise since the rules said Lake trout had to be 24" or longer, Brown Trout had to be 16" or longer and Rainbow had to be 16" or longer. No one brought in any under-sized fish. There are a lot of big fish in that lake!
The fishing judge had to make a tough call on one young man from Smoot, Idaho, though. His big, beautiful fish was just a little bit too frozen solid to qualify under the rules. It is a long way back from the inlet to Fremont Lake.
Wendy Rohrer seemed to write checks to winner’s non-stop. Steve Fetzer got a $1000.00 check on Saturday for his 38", 19.4 pound Lake trout, and on Sunday, Derek Thompson got a $1000.00 check for his 37 ½" Lake trout.
Top three place finishers on Saturday and Sunday:
1st: Steve Fetzner 19.4 lb 38" Lake Trout
2nd: Cody Wilkes 15.8 lb 36 1/2" Lake trout
3rd: Lee Bryant 9.8 lb 34 1/2" Lake trout
1st: Ashton Ditton 3.4 lb 25" Lake trout
2nd: Audrey Moulton 2.8 lb 22 3/4" Lake trout
3rd: Makayla Barney 2.2 lb 17 3/4" Rainbow
1st: Derek Thompson 12.8 lb 37 ½" Lake trout
2nd: Brandon Kinnamon 9.4 lb 32 ¾" Lake trout
3rd: John Fabian 6.2 lb 27" Lake trout
4th: Jacqulyn Smith 4.2 lb 26182" Lake trout
1st: Wylie Wilkes 3.8 lb 23" Lake trout
2nd: Gavin Bonhet 3.4 lb 24" Lake trout
3rd: Garrett Scobey 3.0 lb 22 ¼" Lake trout
Photos and story by Terry Allen