It's Ice Fishing Derby time and Soldotna Hardware makes the catching easy...

The 15th Annual Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware & Fishing Ice Fishing Derby is under way, and with milder temperatures and more daylight hours it's a great time to take your family ice fishing and have a crack at winning some great prizes. "We've got lots of ice, it's been a cold one, and it looks good just about any where you want to go on the Peninsula. We are looking forward to some more record breakers this year! Each year we see a huge variety of fish entered and some of the heaviest in a couple of categories, so I'm sure it'll be a big derby this year plus we've added a couple of divisions and have some big prizes like power augers, Quickfish II ice shelter, and underwater cameras, just thousands of dollars of prizes our vendors have donated and the Troopers brought over a couple of kids bikes for the minnow division six and under that are here on display here at the store. For the conservation minded we have a new catch and release division this year, but as always it's about getting the kids and families out to have a great Alaskan experience," said Scott Miller.

There's no cost to enter the Derby all you have to do is stop by Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware & Fishing and sign up with any of the Derby Dolls, Dawn Nushart, Alicia Bowman, or Hannah Weinberger.Kids under 12 get a free fishing bag of goodies when they sign up. Then when you get your fish bring them in to the weigh station and the Derby Dolls will again be happy to post your catch on the standings board. Leaders have been known to change several times in a single day and then there is always a flurry of shuffling as the end of the Derby gets near and the final gun goes off this leap year February 29th.

Those looking for a winter challenge can try their skill at catching a royal or straight flush, "And we have some ladies who really go after this just to show the guys how it's done! A straight flush is the highest total weight of a rainbow, dolly varden, lake trout and a pike, the royal flush is a rainbow, dolly, pike, lake trout, kokanee, burbot, whitefish, and a grayling, and if you need information on what these fish look like and where to fish for them we're happy to help you," explained Dawn. With the thick ice this year Scott and Brian are recommending power augers and have some great sale prices at less than $200, or you can rent a power auger from Soldotna Hardware and have more time with your line in the water. "It's all about having fun and getting the kids out fishing," says Scott, so stop by Soldotna Hardware on the Sterling Highway anytime during regular business hours seven days a week and get fishing.