It was awards night last Wednesday at Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware & Fishing in Soldotna for the 16th Annual Ice Fishing Derby that ran the entire month of February. “The weather was mild, the ice deep and the fishing outstanding,” said Scott Miller whose family started the popular winter event, “And it was the kids who out-fished them all this year with most of the kids winning fish being larger than in the adult division with four-year-old Anthony Perzchino hauling in an 11.84 lb lake trout by himself to win the biggest fish award and he’s been bringing in fish every year for the last three years, he also won the rainbow division this year,” said Miller. The story goes Anthony’s dad was showing his fishing license to a Fish & Game officer when he saw a tip up and sent Anthony to pull it up, Anthony called back it won’t come out of the hole, so his dad thinking the fish was stuck in some seaweed told him to put the line over his shoulder and run into the bushes, he did and out popped the lunker lake trout that officially weighed in at 11.84 lbs and was the largest fish caught in this year’s Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware & Fishing Ice Fishing Derby. “It doesn’t get any better than having the kids get out and enjoy the winter outdoors with their families and get the fish, that’s why we started the Derby,” he said.
A couple of other long time Ice Fishing Derby participants 11-year-old Jacob and his brother 9-year-old Nicholas both brought in an Ice Fishing Grand Slam, “It’s very difficult because you have to bring in five different species of fish and the highest total weight wins, sometimes you win because you’re the only one that completes it because it’s so difficult, but this year my brother did it too and he got second place,” Jacob told the Dispatch. “I did pretty good you know for my age but we fished every weekend during the month and my biggest fish was my 4.12 lb rainbow trout, I caught him on a small jig and a small hook with shrimp on it but he was a big fish to get up through the hole, it’s a lot more exciting than computer games,” said Nicholas. A multitude of great prizes were given away at the awards ceremony that included two kids bikes donated by the Alaska State Troopers, an all new electric Ion ice auger, a portable Traeger camping grill, a four man Eskimo Quick Fish tent, an Aqua View underwater fish viewing TV system, Lamiglas fishing rods and a gas power auger from Eskimo plus many other prizes. For a full listing of prizes and winners of the 16th Soldotna Trustworthy Ice Fishing Derby results go to www.soldotnahardware.com or stop by the store at the corner of Kobuk and the Sterling Hwy and have fun looking over the results board and all the great photos of ice fishing on the Kenai.