Reeling in the Catches . . . and Competitors
The 18th Annual Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby saw nearly 100 competitors fishing for cash and prizes this past weekend, Feb. 21 & 22. Friday night’s stormy weather might have kept some people from traveling, but by Saturday the lake was spattered with fishing shanties, with patches of blue skies coming through. Sunday saw a return to winter, with snow showers and gusty winds.
On Saturday morning the biggest thing that was pulled from the water was a group of four fishermen who went into the lake down by the Mt. Elbert Power Plant, where the ice can get soft. Fortunately, other fisherman raced to their aid, until first responders arrived and everyone got out okay (see related story below).
But, back to the fishing . . . . Saturday seemed to be the big catch day. Chris Vaith of Buena Vista, Colo., caught the big prize of the weekend on Day One with a 18.65 lb., 37 ¼ ” Mackinaw. That’s a big fish to pull from an 8-inch hole in the ice!
At the smaller end of the derby spectrum was Kevin Kopasz’s 1.19 lb. rainbow, measuring in at 14.5 inches; he came all the way from Steamboat Springs to reel that one in. Leadville resident Danny Gurule, Sr. topped out among the Brown catches with a .77lb., 12.5” beauty which he released back into the icy waters for another day. First Place in the Cutthroat category wet to Steve Dooley of Buena Vista, weighing in at .85 lb. and 14”. For Complete Results: LINK
The younger fishermen had fun as well, with Levi Rollins of Montrose pulling in a 1.29 Mackinaw for biggest catch for the kids. For Complete KIDS Results: LINK.
Most of the competitors return year after year. Recently, it’s shaping up to be a true generational event, with younger parents bringing out their kids, just like their folks did when they were young. Thanks for supporting the The Leadville Rod and Gun Club. Their next big event is the Annual Gun Show held Boom Days Weekend in August. You may contact the LRGC at CR. 6, 100 Gun Club Rd, Leadville, CO 80461.
Fishermen Fall Into Icy Waters at Twin Lakes Derby
On Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 at approximately 5:45 a.m. a vehicle towing a trailer with snowmobiles and a sled with a fishing hut fell through the ice at Twin Lakes while preparing to participate in the Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby.
Alan Hueycutt (47) of Buena Vista was on an ATV with Ben Adair IV (11 year old). They were followed by Eric Kaiser (55) of and Steven Kaiser (66) both of Buena Vista in a 1992 Ford Ranger. When they realized the ice in that area was thin, it was too late to change direction. Both vehicles fell into the water.
An individual in the area called 911 because they heard people yelling for help. Once the call was made this individual indicated he would be going to help. Two of the 4 people (both Kaisers) were able to get themselves out of the water and safely to a location closer to the shoreline. The other 2 (Hueycutt and Adair) were also able to get themselves out of the water as well. They were further from the shore so Patrick Duncan (33) of Rifle was able to rescue them with a boat and took them to shore.
On scene were the Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue, St. Vincent Ambulance, and Lake County Sheriff deputies. Firemen were then able to get them to the ambulance where they were able to get warm. They were taken to St. Vincent Hospital in Leadville to ensure they were ok. Everyone was out of the water by 6:30 a.m.