For the 15th year, the Annual Thompson Chain of Lakes Ice Fishing Derby will commence on Saturday, promising hundreds of fishermen and women to take to the ice in efforts to support the volunteer fire department.
The Fisher River Valley Fire and Rescue Auxiliary has put on the derby for the last few years to raise money for the Fisher River Volunteer Fire Department. This year, funds from the event will go toward the purchase of a new fire engine.
The derby is the auxiliary’s biggest event of the year. According to Ruth VanWorth-Rogers, the event averages between 300 and 350 people including 20-40 kids under the age of 12. VanWorth-Rogers said that some participants come annually from Idaho to fish in the derby.
Participants can fish on any one of the Thompson Lakes for pike, perch, rainbow and salmon at any time from Saturday until Sunday at 4 p.m., which is the final weigh-in.
Every kid under the age of 12 will receive a fishing pole and activity bag. They will also have a drawing for the kids as well.
Other activities include an over-$7,000 50/50 and raffles both Saturday and Sunday.
They will also be raffling off the “ultimate ice house,” complete with a two-man ice house and an auger.
The following are guidelines for the derby:
• All entries must have a valid Montana fishing license and follow all Fish, Wildlife & Parks fishing regulations.
• All entries must be registered before fishing.
• Fishing will take place on the lower Thompson Chain of Lakes
• Pay out will be divided evenly four ways between pike, salmon, rainbow and perch.
• All fish categories will have a place payout with 50 percent for first, 35 percent for second and 15 percent for third with only one entry per category.
• Only fresh silver salmon can be entered (no spawned out salmon).
Entry weigh in deadline on Saturday is 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 4 p.m. at Fisher River Valley Rescue Station One.
Derby payout will be on Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Kickin’ Horse Saloon & Eatery.
Door prizes will be drawn on Saturday and Sunday at the Kickin’ Horse. Participants must be present to win.
People can register for the event at the Libby Sports Center, Mac’s Market, The Kickin’ Horse Saloon and Eatery, Happy’s Inn, Snappy’s Sport Center and at the Fire Hall on Saturday and Sunday.