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Fishing - Region 1

Fri Jan 08 14:25:32 MST 2016

The 45th annual Lions Club Smith Lake Ice Fishing Derby held west of Kalispell on Saturday, December 26 attracted over 300 anglers. Youngsters composed a big part of the crowd. Anglers landed hundreds of small pike and fewer numbers of perch on jigs tipped with maggots or smelt. The day started out chilly, but the sun shone brightly and provided some welcome warmth for the anglers.

The event is put on by the Sunriser Lions Club as a public service to the community and as a way to make a modest amount of money to donate to family fishing pond programs. Anglers also donated some pike to the Hooked on Fishing program for dissection exercises. The Lions operated a food stand offering hamburgers, hot dogs, and other items.

“This is a great family event,” said Warren Illi, event organizer for the Sunriser Lions Club. “We had a terrific turnout and good weather. It was great to see so many kids catching fish.”

Illi manned the weigh-in table set up for anglers to check in their catch in hopes of winning a prize. Prizes for these categories were gift certificates from Flathead Wildlife, Inc., and the Sportsman and Ski Haus. Winners included:

--Largest Pike: 2 lbs., 3 oz..; Gage Crawford (4 years old)
--Smallest Pike: 113 grams (0.25 lbs); Matthew Tobiason
--Largest Perch: Cody Tveidt, 499 grams (1.1 lbs.)
--Smallest Perch: 83 grams (.18 lbs.); Colter Jensen

The Sportsman Ski Haus was a major sponsor, donating hundreds of dollars for prizes as well as bait for the event. Walleyes Unlimited donated 75 ice fishing rods. Flathead Wildlife, Inc. provided support, and many of their members helped at the event, which is held annually on the last Saturday in December.