WILMINGTON -- The 2013 Harriman Reservoir Ice Fishing Derby begins on Saturday.
"It's a family event that's held for two days," said Deerfield Valley Sportsmen's Club Secretary Debbie Cox. "People come and compete for cash prizes and there's a Chinese auction for prizes from local vendors."
The derby, in its 29th year, is held at Lake Whitingham, otherwise known as the Harriman Reservoir. The event is organized by the Deerfield Valley Sportsmen's Club board of directors and is billed as their biggest event of the year, according to the club's website.
It starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday and ends at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
"You can fish all night," said Cox. "Some people stay overnight."
She told the Reformer that the biggest derby had drawn 1,100 people. Last year, only 120 people showed up..
"Last year, people weren't sure of the ice conditions because there was some open water," Cox said. "We did have ice, but rivers were open."
This year, the sportsmen's club is hoping to get between 300 and 500 people to attend the event.
"When we used to get 1,100 people, we would have a pick-up truck that people would compete for," said Cox. "That was when we had tagged fish, but people didn't want to go for tagged fish anymore."
Youth and adults are invited to compete. There will be awards for both age groups.
The awards ceremony begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday. The largest cash prize is for the biggest fish, which will be for $1,000. This cash prize is being provided by the Auto Mall in Brattleboro.
Other cash prizes include $500 for the biggest fish on Saturday and $500 for the biggest fish on Sunday. A $200 prize is being offered in a raffle style award that goes to a winner picked out of names of people who register at Derby Headquarters.
Runner-up prizes include $250, $150 and $100. There will also be a Truman Green Scholarship Award for a Twin Valley High School senior.
A Kayla Lackey Trophy Award, given to the contestants by the Lackey family, will be given to the winner who catches the three heaviest combined Perch. This award is only open to children between one to eight years old.
The Derby Headquarters will be located at Fairview Avenue in Wilmington. During the summer, it is called Mountain Mills, Cox said. There will be a food booth next to the headquarters booth.
Starting around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, a contest will be held for the fastest hand-carving ice using an ice auger. There will be two different age categories for this event.
Winners of the ice auger competition will have a choice of three prizes. First, second and third place can choose between an iPod Shuffle from Brown Computers in Brattleboro, a $40 heirloom Heritage Tip-Up "Laker" tackle used for ice fishing, or a trophy.
Tickets are $20 in advance and can be bought at Marty's Sporting Goods in Bennington, the Readsboro General Store, C and S Beverage in Wilmington, First Stop Convenience and Repair in Jacksonville, the Whitingham Country Store, the Spring Water Bait Shop, Tifts Trading Post in Woodford and at the Derby Headquarters. Bait for the derby can be picked up at some of these shops.
For more information, visit the Deerfield Valley Sportsmen's Club website at dvscvt.org.