Big fish and big prizes

Ciara Rivers shows off two nice perch she brought through the ice on Saturday. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Bob Brown of the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club joins Saranac Lake’s Cameron Gagnon, who holds a tagged salmon he caught on Saturday. Gagnon was the big winner this year, also catching a first-place trout and being awarded the derby’s grand prize of a chartered fishing trip on Lake Ontario. (Photo provided)
John Skiff of Saranac Lake displays his 11-plus pound northern pike, which was worth second place in the adult division. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Roger Pratt stands with his daughter Grace Lancto-Pratt, who caught a tagged salmon. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Chantelle Owen, left, and Myatt Rushford try their luck on Saturday. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
One of the dozens of encampments set up on Lake Colby. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
A group of participants enjoy their derby day on Lake Colby. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Walt Farmer of Saranac Lake drills another hole on Lake Colby during Saturday’s Colby Classic. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Three-year-old Larry stands near some fishing equipment. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Batches of perch were common sights on the ice at the Colby Classic. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

SARANAC LAKE — A year ago, below zero temperatures and driving winds were prevalent during the annual Colby Classic ice fishing derby, which most likely lessened the number of competitors who braved the weather for the two-day event.

Last weekend provided much better conditions for the 34th annual Colby Classic, as Saturday’s temperatures hovered just below the freezing mark and Sunday being a bearable day despite bouts of the wind-blown snow that fell upon the Saranac Lake area. This year’s ice on Lake Colby was also ideal, with an average thickness of about 16 inches.

And with better weather came a bigger turnout as approximately 240 adults and youngsters participated in the Colby Classic, which is an annual event hosted by the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club.

The contest allows trout, perch, salmon and tagged salmon to be caught through the ice on Lake Colby in Saranac Lake, while northern pike can be fished from other area lakes and ponds. The derby featured both adult and youth divisions, and prizes were awarded for the top three catches in each category.

The Colby Classic will celebrate its 35th anniversary next year and hopes are that 35 tagged fish can be stocked and sponsored to mark the occasion. For more information on the derby or sponsorship, call the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club at 518-891-2560.