It was a perfect day for the 18th annual ice fishing derby co-sponsored by the Poweshiek County Conservation Board and the Poweshiek County Izaak Walton League. It was held on Saturday, January 30, at Diamond Lake. Temperatures at the 9:00 a.m. start time were a balmy 40 degrees and sunny with no wind. Without doubt, probably the best weather conditions derby fishermen have ever had.
About 70 hopeful fishermen (50 adults and 20 youth) took part in the annual fishing derby this year, and most individuals had some success, although some of the bluegills were a little on the small side. A couple of fishermen from the Montezuma area caught their limit of 25 bluegills, while others had trouble just getting a bite! It’s all about location!
In the adult division, Keith Fisch of Deep River caught the biggest crappie. It weighed in at .435 pounds, while Rocky Saland of Waterloo caught the biggest bluegill weighing in at .925 pounds. Each fish earned them a $25 first place prize.
Other winners in the adult division included Rod Carlson of Grinnell with the second place crappie weighing in at .415 pounds, and Lee Shearer of Grinnell with a second place bluegill weighing in at .385 pounds. A second place fish earns each fisherman two nights camping at Diamond Lake.
In the youth division, Zane Hamilton from Montezuma took first place for a .285 pound bluegill, and Alex Ely from Montezuma took honors for the biggest crappie weighing in at .305 pounds. The second place bluegill weighing in at .275 pounds was caught by Kaprice Wearmouth of Montezuma, and the second place crappie weighing in at .230 was caught by Conner Brooner of Montezuma.
A bonus prize of two nights camping at Diamond Lake is offered for the biggest catfish caught by either an adult or youth. Often this prize is unclaimed because no catfish are caught, but on Saturday Jaxon Waite (youth) of Oskaloosa edged out Terry Whicker of New Sharon by eight hundredths of pound. Jaxon’s catfish weighed in at 1.440 pounds.
If you didn’t get a chance to fish the derby this year, don’t worry. The 19th annual Diamond Lake ice fishing derby is already scheduled for next year. As in past years, it is always scheduled for the last Saturday in January, which falls on January 28, 2017.