Monday, February 6, 2012

2012 Panguitch Lake Ice Fishing Derby

Before I get to my story about the tournament from this past weekend, I would like to take a moment to send our thoughts and prayers out to the boys at West Mountain Powersports, in Richfield, Utah.  Brady Davis, owner of West Mountain Powersports, was caught in an avalanche while snowmobiling near Fish Lake, Utah yesterday.  Our sympathies go out to his family, friends, and employees!  The boys at West Mountain have been very supportive of this blog, and in fact I have written about their shop a few times:
On a personal note, I want my little brother, Clay Miller to know that our prayers are with him as well.  Clay was with Brady when the avalanche occurred, and rushed to help dig him out.  I know this has been especially hard on him.  I want you to know I love you bro, and you did all you could.  I hope you find comfort in this difficult time.  I know you will be missed by many Brady!

I apologize for being late in posting this today!  I am writing to you from Boise, Idaho this week, where I wish I could say I was doing something fun, but find myself here for fire training, learning about fire behavior calculations.  Sounds exciting, right?  Well, at least Cabelas and Sportsman's Warehouse are both down the road!

The 2nd annual Color Country Interagency Fire Ice Fishing Derby, held in benefit of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF), was held again at Panguitch Lake, Utah this past Saturday.  What a great turn out we had this year!  Fishing reports on Panguitch Lake have been very bleak over the past few weeks, but that didn't keep the fishermen (well, firefighters) away this day!  Maybe it was only the fact that they knew Bill Roach was cooking again!  No, it had to be the cause!  It was great to see so many come out to support such a great cause!  Registration for the derby was $20, all of the entry fee going directly to the WFF!  Prizes were donated by various businesses, individuals, and the WFF.  Of special note, Bill Roach, the Color Country Fire Dispatch manager provided the top prizes, as he did last year.  A big thanks to Bill for the prizes, and for the great food!

The weather turned out to be perfect!  At 9:00 AM the tournament was kicked off by a welcome from Brian Burbridge, one of the even organizers, and a fish identification/regulation briefing by Dale Hepworth of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.  With that, the group quickly dispersed to their chosen spots on the ice.  As for those fishing reports?  Well, it's amazing how fishing had turned around this weekend!  Just days before fishing was terribly slow, but this day almost everyone reported fairly good success!  The action began right off the bat, and stayed fairly steady until about 1:00 in the afternoon.  The bite was very light once again, as is fairly normal at Panguitch Lake in the winter.  There were a few reports of big cutthroats being hooked, but not quite pulled from the ice!  My grandpa, Marvin Porter hooked one of these beauties, and as I tried to get a finger under a gill to pull him out, the jig popped and I couldn't scoop the fish out!  I think he was about 22-24 inches, somewhere around 4 pounds.  I spent the day fuming, but grandpa was pretty calm about it.  We will see if he cuts my line next time I hook a big one!  Our group managed to haul in between 6 to 10 a piece, not too bad!
Jake Schoppe (2nd place) and Louie DelTorro (1st place)
 Weigh in began at 2 PM, where several rainbows in the 15-18 inch range were checked in.  As the fish were measured, we had several ties occur!  This all changed when Josh Soper and Louie DelTorro brought their fish to check in.  Louie DelTorro of Panguitch, Utah claimed the top prize, his fish coming in at 18 1/2 inches, followed by a tie for second place at 17 5/8".  This tie was broken by the heaviest of the 2 fish, going to Jake Schoppe of Panguitch.  Louie claimed the Eskimo ice auger for top prize, Jake the Eskimo "Fatfish" ice house for runner-up.  Well done boys!  Congrats on a couple of nice fish!

The cook!
  A raffle followed the awarding of the top prizes, consisting of shirts, sweaters, and hats provided by the WFF.  Other prizes donated included; small heaters, ice fishing gear, a sled, dutch oven, and portable grills.  The Coates family and Mike Melton were the big winners in the raffle, either they bought a ton of tickets or lady luck was on their side this day!  A big thanks to all those that donated items.  Remember, even if you don't fish, you should show up for the raffle next year!  You can purchase tickets to get in on the action!

A big thanks to Brian Burbridge, Steve Barker, and Bill Roach, organizers of this great event.  The derby raised about $1,700.00 that will go directly to the WFF!  What a sweet accomplishment!  Your efforts to put this together are greatly appreciated!  I look forward to next year.

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation is an organization that raises money for the families of fallen wildland firefighters.  Proceeds will go to families who have lost loved ones on the fireline, or those who have suffered serious injury in the line of duty.  I want to thank the foundation for all you do for the firefighting community. 

Are you interested in donating?  You don't have to attend an event to do so.  Please visit the Wildland Firefighter Foundation webpage for more information on the mission of the foundation, and what you can do to help.  There is a great video on the homepage that explains these things very well.

Be sure to come out and support this great time next year!