By Paul J. Seeling, Gateway News
with Julie Ducklow, Spring Valley Lions Club
SPRING VALLEY, WI – Mother Nature almost stole the Spring Valley Lions Club 17th Annual Ice Fishing Derby, as she did in 2016 when the Lions had to cancel. But not in 2017; it was slushy out on Lake George at the Eau Galle Recreation Area, and the Corp of Engineers had pink cautionary signs up saying “Danger! Unsafe Ice Conditions for Vehicles,” but fishing was good. And fun for the many participants of the annual fundraising event.
A lot of the fishermen used 4-wheelers to get out on the lake with their ice augers, portable shelters and fishing gear. The Lions were busy weighing in the fish for the contest entries, selling raffle tickets and cooking up those “world famous” hamburgers and hot dogs. An added feature of their Ice Fishing Derby this year was the practice sessions of the Pierce County/Prescott Dive Team, who had a triangular hole cut in the ice large enough for two of their divers to get into the lake at the same time.
Divers Allen Arneson and Tom Joyce both Elmwood firefighters practiced “lost diver” drills under the instruction of Josh Knutson a leader of the team.
They were working 12 to 13 feet deep on the lake bottom with about 5 feet or better of visibility with no algae bloom to worry about. They were also using a compass for bearings while wearing dry suits and about a hundred pounds of diving gear. They were in constant communications by radio with Collin Arneson (also of Elmwood Fire) up on top of the ice who was assisted by volunteer Hunter Robertson of Spring Valley. The divers were in the water for about 15 to 20 minutes or about two thirds of their air tank per drill.
After being down for 25 minutes Arneson emerged for a break and said, “Holy crap, I’m getting cold!”
Instructor Josh Knutson was working with the divers on the drills and commented, “It is great to be out here. This is a community resource working with resources of taxes and donations and we are happy to have people stopping by to see us and the work we do.”
In addition to the divers were the fishing and the competition of the Ice Derby Fishing Contest and the raffle prizes.
Here are the 2017 Lion’s Fishing Derby results.
Fishing Contest Prize Winners
- Perch: 1st Place - Pride Beyer, Spring Valley, 8.8 oz, 2nd Place - Joe McDonnell, Woodville, 7.3 oz, 3rd Place - Zach Maier, Spring Valley, 6.0 oz.
- Sun Fish/Blue Gill: 1st place (tied) - Zach Maier, Rick Jensen both of Spring Valley, 7.6 oz, 3rd place - Rick Jensen, Wilson, 7.4 oz.
- Crappie: 1st Place - Dustin Timm, Spring Valley, 7.6 oz., 2nd Place - (tied) Dan Shackleton, Baldwin and Dustin Timm, Spring Valley, 7.1 oz.
- Bass: 1st Place - Tanya Henrickson, Menomonie, 3.21 lbs, 2nd Place -Cory Greenfield, Woodville, 2.33 lbs, 3rd Place - Brad Greenfield, Woodville, 2.24 lbs
- Northern Pike: 1st Place - Ben Case, Boyceville, 3.54 lbs, 2nd Place - Cory Greenfield, Woodville, 2.68 lbs, 3rd Place - Brad Greenfield, Woodville, 2.53 lbs.
Raffle Prize Winners
- Pop Up Ice Fishing House: Mikayla Stevens
- $200 Gift Card at Spring Valley Foods: Dennis Lloyd
- $75: Arby Linder
- $50: Tom Beyer
- $25 Scheel’s Gift Card: Andy Vorlicek.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Lions Club President Ken Lasure thanks all the supporters of the Spring Valley Lions Club 17th Annual Ice Fishing Derby, the fishermen and community, the area businesses, the Lion volunteers and the Army Corp of Engineers. The funds raised this year will be used for ongoing Lion service projects. He said, “Mark your calendars for the third Saturday in February in 2018 for the 18th Annual Spring Valley Lions Ice Fishing Derby and we will see you again at the beautiful Eau Galle Recreation Area!”