The 19th Annual Soldotna Hardware & Fishing Ice Fishing Derby is off to a great start with no entry fee and over 25 divisions with more prizes than ever for kids and adults. Additionally trophies this year are hand carved fish by local artist John Iverson, “It’s kind of a special year as John has hand carved all the trophies for every division and the detail on his carvings is magnificent he did a great job for us. We’re really proud of our set up in the store this year and hope folks will stop in and take a look, check out the great prizes, register and get fishing, ” said Brian Miller of the family owned Trustworthy Hardware store. Mild temperatures for the last three years has put an emphasis on thin ice for derby participants, “We always advise caution when going out on the ice, there is warm springs on different lakes that everyone needs to be aware of, but the ice is mostly good and the fishing has been very good so far this year,” added Miller.
To enter the Derby all you need to do is stop into Soldotna Hardware & Fishing and register before you go fishing. Meet the this year’s lovely Ice Fishing Queen, Jessica Koch who will help you with everything you need to know about the Derby and take your picture when you return with your catch, “We’ve already had quite a few fish brought in and as usual the little kids are doing the best and they are starting to pour in now, the early leaders are being bumped this year so the fishing is good the temperatures are mild and it’s a great time to get fishing,” she told the Dispatch. Dawn Nushart has helped the Miller family with the Derby since it began 19 years ago and still loves the event, “It’s so much fun the kids come in and are really excited to maybe have caught their first fish, the adults are as eager as the kids to win some of those great prizes and are really getting after it this year. Toby Abbot has brought in a nice 3.33 lb. rainbow trout, but that is beatable so keep fishing guys and remember it’s a leap year so you get a whole extra day to fish and win in the Derby,” said Nushart. You can follow the results of this year’s Derby by liking Soldotna Hardware & Fishing on Facebook or stopping into the store and checking out the standings board. Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware & Fishing is located on the Sterling Highway in Soldotna at the Kobuk St. stoplight.