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Ray Hanson Memorial Fishing Derby going on as planned

The 47th annual Ray Hanson Memorial Fishing Derby is set to kick off this weekend and go for 9 days on Washington Island.
Fishermen say they're looking forward to the upcoming fishing derby on Washington Island.
Posted at 6:40 AM, Feb 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-08 08:05:45-05

WASHINGTON ISLAND (NBC 26) — If you'd like to catch your dinner this week instead of buying it at the store, the 47th Ray Hanson Memorial Fishing Derby is still planned on Washington Island.

It kicks off at 12:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Lions Club Vice President Ray McDonald says they've been checking the ice to make sure it's safe.

He says they've had to adjust plans in the past because of the warmer weather, but the 9-day event is still happening which is a big part of island life in the winter.

"It's a lot of fun, and just about everybody is more than willing to help out if you have no idea what you're doing or have a spot you can come up and bum a minnow, or a tip-up or a spot from anybody. It's a community thing for fun. It's not really super competitive. There's bragging rights among the locals, but for the most part, it's just a fun tournament," McDonald said.

McDonald said during the colder years, they snowmobile over Lake Michigan from Washington Island to Rock Island, but it's not cold enough to do that this year.

He says lawyers are a big draw to the island during the colder years, because you typically have to go out farther on the ice and use deeper lines to catch them.