Two weeks before the upcoming Cranberry Lake ice fishing derby a local angler caught a 27.4 pound northern pike – three pounds heavier than the heaviest fish ever caught during the tournament itself.
Cody Layton, Cranberry Lake, reeled in the monster fish only 14 days before the start of the “Last Chance” ice fishing derby, scheduled for March 2.
The Cranberry Lake Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department sponsors the tournament.
“This weekend’s 27 pound fish is exactly why we already have pre-registrations from as far away as Pennsylvania and Canada. There are plenty more fish like this just waiting to be caught,” Fire Chief Emmett Duprey said.
The tournament began in 2010, with the largest fish caught during a tournament weighing in at 24 pounds in 2011, three pounds lighter than Layton’s fish.
The tournament is expected to attract over 800 anglers and will run from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Last year’s tournament brought in nearly 700 participants who drilled a total of 3,490 holes. Last year’s largest fish weighed in at 21 pounds, 2 ounces.
“Cranberry Lake has a reputation for remarkable ice fishing,” said Duprey.
To insure a quick registration process the day of the tournament organizers strongly recommend early registration by mail.
The entry fee is $30 for adults and $10 for the children’s perch derby. Children must be under the age of 12 for the perch derby. Early registrations postmarked by Feb. 25 are eligible to win a $250 prepaid Visa card. Registration the day of the tournament will begin at 4 a.m. at the Cranberry Lake Fire Hall.
Cash prizes for first to fifth place in the children’s perch derby will be awarded, and every child who enters will receive a prize.
Up to $800 an hour in prize money will be awarded to adult competitors, along with dozens of door prizes. Up to $10,000 in total cash and prizes will be awarded during the derby.
Registration forms and derby rules are available at www.cranberrylakefire.org or from firstname.lastname@example.org. Tournament updates are available on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CranberryLakeFireDepartment.