Anglers head to Stagecoach hoping to hook cash with top prize
January 4, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRNGS — Cory Spakes, administrator at Stagecoach State Park, is hoping for some big crowds this weekend as anglers from around the state come to South Routt in search of big fish and maybe a little cash.
The seventh annual Ice Fishing Tournament at Stagecoach State Park, presented by Steamboat Fishing Adventures, is normally a big draw for local anglers. But thanks to a little Front Range promotion, it could be even bigger this year. This year's event will take place Saturday starting at 8 a.m. and running until noon. Same-day registration will take place at the Stagecoach Marina from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m.
"Last year, we had $1,000 for first prize and, hopefully, we will be pushing $2,000 this year," Spakes said. "This year, we made a strong push to get the word out on the Front Range."
Spakes is hoping that effort will push participation from 140 participants, both youth and paid adults, to more than 250 this year.
He said the event is a fundraiser for the South Routt High School's science club, which will take home half of the money raised at the event. The other half will be handed out in prize money to the top five finishers. Results will be based on the combined length of the angler’s two longest fish of any species.
Participants must register at the marina and pay the $30 entry fee to take part. Anglers must also hold a current Colorado State Fishing License. Other prizes will be given for longest trout, longest non-trout and shortest non-trout.
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The tournament is open to anglers of all ages, but they have to catch their own fish. Those 16 and older can enter for the adult division, which offers cash prizes. Younger anglers are also encouraged to come out and fish and can take part in a youth division that is free and does not offer cash prizes.
This year's event is being presented by Steamboat Fishing Adventures and a new company owned by Brady Wettlaufer that offers guided boat tours, sunset cruises and other spincasting adventures in summer, as well as ice-fishing tours in the winter.
"Brady is a huge promoter and an avid fisherman," said his wife, Carrie Wettlaufer. "He is a strong believer in getting children involved with fishing when they are young and seeing that they have opportunities to continue as they get older."