The winter of 2010/11 in many parts of the country is destined to go down as one of the coldest and snowiest in history–or at least recent memory– but that didn’t stop 90, yes that’s right 90, youngsters from taking part in Sullivan County, New York’s annual ice fishing derby. The derby, sponsored by the Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County, Inc., is a free event and all children who participate in the fun-filled day go home with prizes.
Established in 1936, The Federation is comprised of 107 hunting and fishing clubs in the heart of New York’s Catskill region and represents more than 12,000 sporstmen. It has a very simple mission: To promote fish and game in Sullivan County and try to make this county a better place for all to hunt, fish and live. To represent good sportsmanship and fellowship. To further the goals of conservation education at the adult and youth level. Simple yet powerful goals made that much more important due to the area’s proximity to New York City and urbanized sensibilities when it comes to hunting and fishing.
Kids of all ages take part in the derby which this year was held on Crystal Lake on the Ten Mile River Boy Scouts property. In addition, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation provided special dispensation to The Federation which permitted kids to keep one largemouth bass each if it measured 12 inches or more. Bass season in New York is closed until June. Here, Casey French takes a hard-earned snack break from the jigging stick.
Dad, Chris French, was the keeper-of-the snacks for the day.
J.T. Whritner tends to his tip-up.
Time to do a little jigging. Like many of the lakes in the area, Crystal Lake has good populations of bass, pickerel, perch and crappies. Most bass and pickerel come on tip-ups while perch and crappies are best jigged.
The Cherokee Preserve Club’s Cliff Horton, provides French with a little advice on his jigging technique.
A fine kettle of fish.
Outdoorsman in the making Aedan Clark teaches his brother, Nolan, all about the finer points of clearing the ice hole.
The Clarhart Clan on ice! No better way to chase the winter blues away than spending a day together on a frozen lake…well at least for this bunch of sportsmen.
El Carhart takes a break from hard jigging with grandsons Nolan, Aedan and Casey.
Fish On! Aedan Clark hauls a pickerel through the ice under the watchful eye of Cliff Horton and cousin Casey.
The winning largemouth prize was awarded for this nice 5-pound bass. That’s a great fish in open water, an awesome fish on a tip-up.
Prizes were awarded to youngsters for big fish in several categories.
Proud dad with his two even prouder kids. Nice bass guys! Next up for The Federation is next week’s 3-day Coyote Hunting Contest. The contest is open statewide with cash prizes awarded for biggest coyotes. For more information, contact Jack Danchak at: 570-798-2998

How do you get 90 kids to spend a day outdoors in the dead of winter? Take them icefishing of course!