Old Smokey, a pike tagged with a $10,000 reward if caught during the fishing derby, was put in Walled Lake on Wednesday. (Aileen Wingblad/MediaNews Group)
“Mother Nature can be tough.”
So says Tony Hopeck, organizer of the 14th annual Walled Lake Ice Fishing Derby, which offers a top prize of $10,000, which was scheduled for this Saturday, February 11th.
But with recent, relatively warm weather making the lake’s surface potentially dangerous for anglers, the tournament is out of the question, at least for now.
‘Old Smokey’ tagged and thrown back into Walled Lake as $10,000 fishing derby prize
It’s no surprise the derby didn’t play out as hoped, but Hopeck said there are four possible Saturdays it could still happen this season: Feb. 18-25 and March 4-11.
Hopeck made the decision Friday to postpone the tournament after testing ice surface levels at the north end of Walled Lake. He said he appreciates all the interest and apologizes for any inconvenience caused by canceling the event, “but unfortunately, we cannot control the weather.”
“At the end of the day, it’s about having a fun and safe event,” Hopeck said.
Check out the Facebook page, WL Fishing Derby or the website www.mifishingderbys.com for updates on the tournament schedule. Hopeck also notes that another annual fishing derby, for warm-weather anglers, is scheduled for June 10 at Walled Lake, during one of Michigan’s free fishing weekends, when license fees are waived.
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