Cook County RidgeRiders Trout Derby Sunday March 3

One event winter enthusiasts look forward to each year is the 
Trout Derby. With a long-storied past, the derby is a time for the 
community to gather on the ice and for laughs and fun and hopefully, 
to catch a fish or two.
This year the vaunted fishing contest will be held Sunday, March 3 on
Gunflint Lake. Registration is 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and the cost is $10 
for Cook County RidgeRiders Snowmobile Club members and $20 for non-
members.
All fish must be weighed by 2 p.m.
The Grand Marais Lion’s Club held the first trout derby in 1957. By 
1962 as many as 4,000 people attended the event that was also held on 
Gunflint Lake. Throughout the years the derby was held on a variety of
lakes, including Greenwood and Clearwater lakes.
The 1962 derby was held March 11 but was shortened due to flooding on 
the lake. Local TV news stars Marsh Nelson and Bill Krueger were 
supposed to attend but couldn’t make it.
That year 30 fish were caught and the big winner was Mrs. Clyde 
Wishcop, who took home a 19-inch TV with her catch of a 4-lb 10-oz 
lake trout. Her son, Steve, also caught a nice laker and took home a 
30-30 Marlin rifle for placing third overall.
The Lions Club organized trout derbies into the 1980s but quit because 
of rising insurance costs and declining membership. After a lengthy 
stoppage, the Cook County snowmobile club restarted the fishing 
contest as a way to provide family fun and to raise funds for trail 
maintenance and grooming equipment, said Shele Toftey, one of the 
group’s main organizers.
While everyone won’t catch fish, there will be fish burgers, hot 
dogs, brats, and burgers and there will be a piñata for kids and a 
raffle and other prizes for contestants. First prize for the biggest 
fish is $500.