TOWN OF DIANA, N.Y. (WWNY) - Many made a splash in Lake Bonaparte on Saturday during the Harrisville Fire Department’s 20th annual Ice Fishing Derby.
“We got a good turnout at the derby today. We have got around 800 people which is the most that we have had in 15 years, so everything is working out good,” said Don Thomas, the First Assistant Chief of the Harrisville Fire Department.
Some parts of the lake are easy to walk on ,while others have about 12-14 inches of slush on them. But fisherman say they are happy to be out her with family and friends.
The fishermen are competing for cash prizes every hour, trying to reel in the heaviest fish.
Andy Monaghan and his family were out on the ice since 7 AM with little to no bites.
“We come up every year and just kind of- if we catch fish, it’s great, if we don’t it is still a fun time, we make the best of it you know?” said Monaghan.
And while their setup is pretty sweet, others are pretty simple.
“It’s pretty cold and we haven’t caught anything, so it’s pretty upsetting, but it is what it is,” said Brianna Barber.
However, some did have luck. One caught a northern pike weighing in at 11 pounds.
But, this year’s derby had a bigger meaning than just fishing.
The Fire Department teamed up with the Gamble family out of Carthage to honor their son, Chris, who passed away in a UTV accident last year.
In doing so, they created the 1st annual Chris Gamble Memorial Award where registration into the derby puts you into a drawing for $1,000, and your name on the plaque.
The Gamble family and the fire department also collected donations and gifts from nearby businesses to raffle off, totaling about $20,000 in prizes.
“It’s truly amazing, and it is all of the items that Chris would have used or loved to see out here, and I just want to say thank you to everybody,” said Chris’ sister Natasha Gamble.
The Gambles hope to keep adding a name to the list every year to remember Chris and the love he had for the sport.