By Brendan Smoker
Bath Township’s ice derby this past Saturday was the biggest yet. Over a hundred people registered to fish on Park Lake from areas including DeWitt, Haslett, Lansing, and Bath Township citizens. This particular event takes place on the Department of Natural Resources free-fishing weekend. Which is one of two during the year that allows people to fish without a license.
Parks and Recreation staff director, Becky Goodwin’s, dedication to coordinating this event gave her the opportunity to say that this year’s ice derby is the “fourth annual ice derby with the biggest group yet.” She said, “it has grown every year.”
The ice derby began at 8:30 a.m. and fishing went on until 4 p.m. Cookies, coffee, milk and beef stew were available throughout the day to help warm up those coming back from the lake. Special guests included faculty and students from Michigan State University’s Fish and Wildfire Department who came out to practice their wildlife skills and take vegetation surveys. According to the department’s president, Rebecca Blundell, MSU’s Fish and Wildlife Department “do a lot of fish analysis [at Park Lake].”
Another volunteer organization was the Clinton County Special Rescue Team. Volunteer Commander Kip Harman is a SRI veteran of over 15 years. He even bought a beer truck for a dollar, which he converted into a rescue vehicle.
Dan Schulte, also a volunteer, has been an SRT member since 2007. When asked how the day was going in relation to emergencies, Schulte responded: “it’s the way we like it. The best days are with no incidents.” “Search and rescue is [the SRT’s) bread and butter.”
After 8 hours of fishing it was time to announce the trophy winners. The youth, biggest fish winner went to Colby Thorton with a 9 7/8 inch crappie. Justin Murray was the adult winner with an 11 inch crappie. Unfortunately, the catch was not the greatest, not a single pike or catfish were caught.
Ending the event was a raffle drawing. The first winner was Skylar Williams who actually skipped going to a water park to go ice fishing with her grandfather. She ended up with a brand new ice auger. she said the ice derby event was worth skipping the trip to the water park.
Smaller prizes included ice fishing tools, gift cards and a portable heater to 30 other contestants.
Also, with help from Michigan State’s Project FISH, every participant under 18 got a participation certificate and a hat fish hook.
The Parks and Recreation board could have not asked for a better day with little wind, decent temperature, clear skies, a gorgeous sun and an amazing turnout Bath Treasurer Jeff Garrity said. “We have this great lake, might as well take advantage of it.”
For questions please contact Brendan Smoker at firstname.lastname@example.org