By Liz Wood 

Ice road fishers

Three Platte County Road and Bridge employees and friends return to the Saratoga Ice Fishing Derby for 15 years now


Erik Gantt

Sunrise over a frozen Saratoga Lake Tuesday morning.

The Saratoga Ice Fishing Derby has become an annual tradition for four men from Wheatland, Wyo.

Doug Kinsley has been coming to the fishing derby for 15 years.

Kinsley started coming with this brother-in-law in 1990. He has seen several changes in the derby when the money was for the tagged fish, then for the big fish and now for both.

Two years later his co-worker Tim Moran started coming with him. The first year Moran fished in the derby, he won $5,000. Four fish had been caught with tags and the names were put into a hat. The first three drawn had to split $1,000, Moran recalled. His name was not one of them. The last name drawn was awarded the $5,000.

Moran hasn't won big money like that since, but pulls in the big fish of the hour every so often.

Kinsley and Moran are avid ice fishermen, but don't get to fish as often as they would like. "Seems like a guy keeps getting busier," Kinsley said.

The fishing derby has become a ritual for them. They are now joined by their friends Steve Sevorka and Kent Daniels.

Sevorka, like Kinsley and Moran, works for Platte County Road and Bridge. Daniels works at the power plant in Wheatland.

"It's a fun time with our buddies," Moran said. They have been coming out every year since.

Moran said he is excited about the possibilty of catching another big money fish this year, but he mostly enjoys the fishing and watching the fish come in.

The men are all competitive, Moran said. They compete against each other for bragging rights on who catches the biggest fish over the weekend.

The men use separate fishing huts. Kinsley said they don't participate in the hut contest. "I move around on the lake. I don't like to stay in one place."

This year, the men will be competing for three new prizes, a $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000 tagged fish.


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