• Dads’ derby a big hit
    By Darren Marcy
    STAFF WRITER | June 30,2013
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    The 32nd annual Lake Champlain International Father’s Day Derby is in the books.

    More than 5,000 people entered this year and dozens of them went home with something to show for it.

    More than $211,000 in cash and prizes were awarded at an awards ceremony the Friday following the Father’s Day weekend derby.

    It was quite a shindig at the DoubleTree Hotel in South Burlington with more than 450 people attending to either claim a prize or participate in raffles for more than $2,500.

    It was yet another great early summer tournament that is one of Vermont’s crown jewels of the summer.

    Vermont has high participation rates in outdoor recreation and Vermonters certainly love their fishing. The LCI Father’s Day Derby shows that as people flock to the water to spend the weekend celebrating the holiday and hoping to land a lunker that just might turn into a nice check at the banquet.

    There was certainly some cash being flashed.

    The winner in each of seven fish species categories took home checks for $3,000 and those species categories payed 10 places.

    Three of those first-place winners then added an additional $7,500 in Super Bonus Cash.

    Not to be outdone, three teams — one each in cold water, cool water and warm water species — took home new boats from Smokercraft each with a brand new four-stroke Yamaha engine. That, plus a check for more than $3,400 meant a pay day worth more than $23,000.

    In all, there was more than $92,000 in cash paid out and more than $180,000 in cash and prizes paid to the lucky anglers who were able to hook something special this year.

    And there were some special fish caught this year.

    A tournament record 17.08-pound lake trout was boated and a near record 11.15-pound Atlantic salmon was caught.

    There were 6-plus-pound largemouth bass, smallies that topped 5 pounds, a catfish that nearly hit 30 pounds on the scale and a sheepshead that came in just short of 20 pounds.

    In all, thousands of fish were caught over the weekend with nearly all of them released to fight another day, according to LCI.

    Many of those fish were caught by families who make the Father’s Day Derby about doing something as a family.

    Junior anglers caught a 19-plus-pound catfish, lake trout over 13 pounds, a bowfin that topped 11 pounds, a pike that was just short of 10 pounds, a 6.64-pound walleye, a 4.19-pound smallmouth bass and a 5.18-pound largemouth bass.

    All junior anglers 12 years and younger who attended the awards ceremony went home with a new fishing pole while 32 other young anglers went home with a prize bag and a trophy for their catches.

    In the end, however, the LCI Father’s Day Derby isn’t about what people caught or what they took home. It’s about the lake and maintaining it as a “swimmable, drinkable, fishable” lake. And the nonprofit LCI uses the funds raised from this tournament and other efforts to fund its work throughout the year.

    “We are extremely happy with both the derby and the following awards ceremony,” said LCI Outreach Director and Tournament Coordinator Eric LaMontagne. “We saw record-breaking fish, heard many wonderful stories, and made great strides in our mission of a swimmable, drinkable, fishable Lake Champlain. We are extremely thankful to all those who spent their weekend fishing with us, and to those companies who helped make this event possible.”

    The derby is a great testament to the value of Lake Champlain in Vermont, upstate New York and the region in general.

    In prepared remarks by Senator Bernie Sanders that were read at the event, “The Father’s Day Derby is a wonderful tradition that grows stronger each year, bringing people from across the Northeast to enjoy our community and beautiful natural resource, Lake Champlain.”

    If you’re curious if your friend or neighbor finished in the money, you can find all the results at: www.lciderby.com.

    For more information about LCI, find them on Facebook, or on the web at: www.mychamplain.net

    Contact Darren at darren@darrenmarcy.com.
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