New Ice Fishing Derby Set for Chautauqua

By Rich Davenport, published December 13, 2021

Ice Shanties on Chautauqua
Ice shanties are a common sight on Chautauqua Lake in winter.

A new ice fishing derby has been created for the 2022 hard water season on Chautauqua Lake, organized in part by the Facebook Group Chautauqua Lake Ice and Open Water Fishing, with the goal being to promote ice fishing on Chautauqua Lake, while bringing some economic activity to the lakeside communities.

Unlike derbies and tournaments held in years past, this derby will allow anglers to measure their catch and submit photos to enter their catches for consideration, as well as offering a six species contest, vs. just one.

The Chautauqua Lake 2022 Ice Derby starts at midnight on Saturday, January 15, 2022, and continues on until 12:00 PM, or noon, on Sunday, February 27, 2022. Anglers who are entered in the derby may submit photos of fish on a measuring device known as a “bump board”, showing clearly the length of the fish, across the following species:

  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch
  • Crappie
  • Sunfish
  • White Perch
  • Silver Bass

To assure all catches are from Chautauqua Lake, and from this year, anglers will need to provide a photo of the fish being entered while on the ice, with a familiar landmark in the background. The second picture, which is the fish on the bump board, measured mouth closed, also must include the Chautauqua Ice Derby 2022 official tournament “badge”, which will show the angler’s “contestant number”, to prove the entry if this year’s catch. Anglers may enter one, or all 6 categories, and may enter as many fish in each category as they desire, but only the largest entry in each category will be considered.

The cost to enter this tournament is $25.00 per angler, and is open to any angler of any age. Anglers 16 years old and older must hold a valid NYS Fishing license. Entrants under age 16 do not need a license to fish in NY, but will require parental consent to enter the derby.

Interested anglers may enter this derby by visiting Chautauqua Reel Outdoors Guide and Tackle, located at 165 West Fairmount Avenue, Lakewood, NY, in the Save-a-Lot and Dollar General plaza. Derby opens for entries December 15, 2021. An early bird raffle is being put together for those entering the derby early, but anglers may enter the derby until end of business day on Saturday, February 12, 2022.

Stay tuned to We Love Outdoors with Rich Davenport to get latest news and updates, as the organizers are planning an in-person awards ceremony most likely the weekend after the derby ends, but this depends on the covid covid covid rules in New York at that time, as NY’s governor Hochul just re-imlpemented a mask mandate for all indoor activities, effective December 13, to be reviewed mid-January.