The Colby Classic Ice Fishing Derby in Saranac Lake is celebrating 40 years

The Colby Classic Ice Fishing Derby in Saranac Lake is celebrating 40 years

Rust - Adirondacks USASaranac Lake, New York (February 12, 2024) – The Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Colby Classic Ice Fishing Derby, taking place Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 3 on Colby Lake and surrounding waters.

The organizers are celebrating its 40th anniversary with exciting prizes and competitions. Roque Nogales, tournament coordinator, expressed his excitement for this historic year. “This year, on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, we decided to do some things differently in terms of sponsorships and the value of the prizes offered,” he said.

The derby is open to adults and children, with prizes in each category. The event typically attracts 200 to 250 participants each year, with approximately 80 youth participating while fishing for trout, salmon and perch in Colby Lake, along with pike in the surrounding waters.

The event begins with its annual tradition of DEC’s delivery of specially labeled 5-year-old fish from the salmon and rainbow trout ponds. Historically, if these fish were caught, they represented a $100 cash prize for every angler lucky enough to get one.

John Gorgas, tournament spokesman, explained how the “tagged fish” portion of the competition was improved this year. “DEC-branded fish are sponsored by local businesses, sometimes challenging each other and pooling their donations to increase the value of each fish caught,” he said. “We have several tagged fish valued at over $300 each. In one specific case, eight real estate agencies joined forces to sponsor one fish, and one tag turns into a fish worth $800, if it is caught.” Our local businesses have been excited about the idea of ​​sponsorship “This, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Some local hotels are also celebrating this important year, offering special rates to tournament participants.

Colby Lake provides the perfect location for ice fishing. The size and location of the lake in Saranac Lake helps ensure there is enough ice, provided temperatures remain cold. Downtown Saranac is surrounded by dozens of lakes and ponds, allowing for unparalleled access. The city offers access to three connected lakes, including Colby Lake, creating a unique and picturesque setting for the tournament.

Proceeds from the fishing derby benefit Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club’s fish conservation and training projects, the Father’s Day Fishing Derby, hunter education, and safety training programs along with archery lessons for community members.

Businesses interested in sponsoring tagged fish or learning more about sponsorship opportunities are encouraged to contact Rocky Nogales at or 505-697-0452. Contact John Gorgas at for general tournament information. Visit the Colby Classic Ice Fishing Derby Facebook page for the latest updates and information.


Pictures are available here.

Editor’s Note: (Photo Opportunity) February 27, 11:00 a.m. The Adirondack Fish Hatchery – NYS DEC in Franklin County will deliver fifteen specially tagged fish to the Colby Lake boat launch.

Jane Hopper, Director of Communications
Regional Office for Sustainable Tourism
518-621-3662 518-578-6328 (cell)

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