Gogebic Lodge prepares for 38th annual Ice Fishing Derby Saturday

The lodge’s owner says Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s recent capacity extensions will be a great benefit for the derby.
Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 3:16 PM EST
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MARENISCO, Mich. (WLUC) - Anglers are gearing up for a fishing tournament in Gogebic County.

On Saturday, March 6, the Gogebic Lodge will host its annual Ice Fishing Derby. Lodge owner Brian Berquist says in its 38th year, the derby has become a staple in the community.

“It’s the longest-running ice fishing contest the lake has had,” said Berquist. “I think it’s probably the longest-running annual event we’ve had here in the Western U.P.”

Berquist says the derby always brings fishing enthusiasts together. Additionally, he says it helps to boost the local economy.

“Most of the restaurants and bars fill up, and all the lodging facilities fill up,” Berquist said. “It kind of curtails the snowmobiling fading off a little bit in March when the anglers come and spend a little money in the area.”

As usual, Berquist anticipates high attendance this year.

“We average generally over 200 people, and with the nice weather it always has a better turnout,” he said.

Earlier this week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer eased coronavirus restrictions for businesses and events. Berquist says the changes come just in time for the event.

“Our outside capacity for the event can be 300 people, so that really helps us out,” said Berquist. “Then with the inside being 50% capacity, it’s a big shot in the arm and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Berquist says some changes are being made to the derby this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We normally have everything inside and have the awards ceremony at the end,” Berquist explained. “This year, we’re going to have speakers and tents outside so you can hear the results and don’t have to cram into the main lodge. We’ll also have beverage service outside.”

The Gogebic Lodge Ice Fishing Derby begins at 7:00 a.m. central and ends at 4:00 p.m. central. Pre-registration begins at 6:00 a.m., although participants can register anytime at the Lodge. The entry fee is $40.

Prizes will be given for walleye, northern, and perch. First place will be $1,000, second place will be $200, and third place will be $100. $50 prizes will be awarded for the first whitefish caught and the first crappie caught.

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