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Thanksgiving Derby set to hit the water

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | November 19, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — If Thanksgiving is on the horizon, Lake Pend Oreille Idaho Club's annual Thanksgiving Derby must be near at hand.

The annual fall classic kicks off Saturday, the club's Dave Gillespie said.

"Looks like the weather will start out darn cold but I expect there to be lots of hardy individuals out on the water chasing the 'Big Ones,' " Gillespie said in an email announcing the fall derby. 

The derby runs Nov. 19-23, takes a day-long break for Thanksgiving so anglers can spend the holiday with their families. Anglers return to the water on Nov. 25 and the derby wraps up on Sunday, Nov. 27.

LPOIC has been holding its fall and spring derbies on Lake Pend Oreille since the late 1940s — more than 70 years depending on which derby you start with, Gillespie said in 2021.

The story is that the derbies started in 1947 after an earlier 1940s planting of Gerrard Rainbows from Canada brought the rainbows to Lake Pend Oreille, he said at the time.

In 1948, the Bonner County Sportsman Club put on a derby that lasted the entire Lake Pend Oreille season. And, a few more were put on by the city of Sandpoint around the same time.

Not too long after, the club was formed with members setting a springtime derby that would have less of an impact on the overall rainbow population, Gillespie said.

Those interested in joining the club and signing up for the derby can do both at these locations. Ticket outlets can be easily identified because they display the LPOIC derby poster at the front of the store, said Gillespie.

Fish must be caught on Lake Pend Oreille. Fish caught in the Clark Fork River or any tributary of Lake Pend Oreille are not eligible.

All participants in the derby must register prior to fishing and must have the LPOIC registration form in their possession when registering their fish, according to LPOIC's derby rules. All fish must be registered at an approved LPOIC weigh stations

There are adult divisions for rainbow trout and Mackinaw, in addition to two youth divisions for anglers eight years old and younger and for anglers between the ages of 9-13. Anglers aged 13 and under fish for free, although pre-registration is required.

The minimum length for rainbow trout in the adult division is 32 inches. The minimum rainbow length in the junior division is 28 inches. There are no minimum lengths for Mackinaw or anglers in the Youth A and B divisions.

Tickets can be purchased at Fins and Feathers, Mark's Marine, Sandpoint Marine, Priest River Hardware, The Captn’s Table, Holiday Shores Resort, MacDonald's Hudson Bay Resort, Black Sheep Sporting Goods, Superfly (Ponderay), North 40 (Ponderay), North Ridge Outfitters; Odie’s Bayside Grocery, Ralph's Coffee House and Bayview Mercantile.

Information: lpoic.org

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