January 10, 2022 |

Winter arrived late this year, but some people already are sick of the snow and cold. Other folks are relieved. One person happy about winter’s arrival is Amanda Knotwell. Before Christmas, the director of the Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce was worried that Saratoga Lake might not freeze over in time for the annual ice fishing derby happening this weekend.

At the Saratoga Town Council meeting on December 21st, when Knotwell submitted a special permit application, she was asked about the ice.

Pictured above: Ice Fishing Derby 2020. Photo courtesy of Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce.


Knotwell, and the 700 or so anglers who show up each year for the competition, can rest easy. There was enough ice before Christmas, and even more now. After nearly three weeks of hard winter conditions, the lake is frozen and ready.

Knotwell told Bigfoot 99 on Thursday that the ice on the lake is more than thick enough to support an eight-ton truck.


Knotwell added that the ice is in great shape for the popular derby where anglers, set up huts, drill down to water, drop their bait and wait for the fish to bite. Lots of money is on the line — hard, cold cash to be won.


This will be the event’s 39th year. One of the recent additions is the sucker contest. The Silver Spur Ranch is offering prize money for the largest sucker caught. Valley Foods put up prize money for the smallest. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department encourages the removal of the suckers. Knotwell said there is no shortage of them.


Game and Fish stocked the lake with trout in December. The tagged fish will be released sometime between now and the start of the derby, this coming Saturday morning. Over 100 people have registered so far. You can do it online. Knotwell said her prayers were answered.


So rather than hate the cold—maybe get out an enjoy—and maybe win some cash. You can register at the lake this Saturday and Sunday. Call the Chamber at (307) 326-8855 for details.

More information: https://www.saratogachamber.info/play/fishingderby

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