The Mat-Su Kids Ice Fishing Derby had several hundred anglers in 2015.
On Saturday, Feb. 20, Finger Lake is an ice fishing Mecca for kids of all ages, as the Mat-Su Kids Ice Fishing Derby takes place. This family-friendly event has become quite the popular one in the Valley, with hundreds of kids and their parents taking to the lake for a morning and afternoon filled with fish, fun and smiles.
Organized by Ehmann Outdoors, the event is free for kids, although a canned food donation is gladly accepted. Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the Palmer Elks Lodge (2600 Barry's Resort Dr., off Bogard Road) and the fishing continues until 2 p.m. Organizers will be on hand to help the kids, drill holes and offer support. Trophies and prizes will be awarded to the three largest fish in four different age categories.
But kids aren't the only ones who can win - the adult raffle includes prizes like a kid's four-wheeler, ice augers, underwater cameras, an iPad and much more. Tickets for the raffle are $10 each. The event benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and during the first three years of the event's existence, more than $37,000 has been raised.
During the event, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will be on hand for an interactive fish stocking activity, beginning at noon in front of the Palmer Elks Lodge. There is also a homemade ice fishing pole contest for those with angling ingenuity.
Butch and Jehnifer Ehmann have organized the event in the past, and it only continues to grow in popularity. Last year, several hundred kids participated in the event, and all went home with smiles on their faces.
For more information about the event, interested people can visit www.ehmannoutdoors.com.