By Susan Hallock
TUSTEN February 27, 2007 With a crisp wind blowing and the sun beating down, there was no stopping more than 70 kids and their families from trying to catch as many fish as they could as well as the biggest fish they could at the seventh annual Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs of Sullivan County Ice Fishing Contest, which was held on Saturday on Crystal Lake in the Town of Tusten.
The lake, which is opened up for the event by the Ten Mile River Boy Scouts, hosted a day of ice fishing and a lot of adventure and fun for everyone who participated.
“I am having a lot of fun out here,” Matthew Millis said. “It is nice being out here with my dad and my grandpa and I like the ice fishing. I have already caught two fish.”
Matthew’s dad Bob Millis added, “This is a great way to get the kids outdoors and it gives me and my son a opportunity to hang out and do something we both enjoy. We have been coming here since it started and this year my dad is once again with us. It is just a lot of fun.”
Matthew Millis managed to catch a perch which was 13.4 inches long and weighed 1 lb., 4 oz. as well as a pickerel that was 22.1 inches long and 2 lb., 10 oz.
Ryan Buley who was also fishing on the lake, was having a lot of fun.
“I just caught this fish and asked if I could bring it in and get it weighed and it turned out to be a pickerel that is 24.5 inches long and 4 lb., 2 oz., and it is a big fish,” Buley said. “I am just having a lot of fun!”
The event, which is sponsored by the Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County, Sullivan County Democrat and the Ten Mile River Boy Scouts, truly proved to be fun for everyone.
“This activity has been going on for several years and despite the cold weather, we still have kids out there having fun,” Federation President Jack Danchak said. “There are other ice fishing events going on today and we had all these kids turn out here today that is a great thing. It is rewarding to all of us here to see the kids out there catching fish and just having fun in the outdoors. That is what it truly is about!”
Kay Danchak, Jack’s wife, smiled and added, “What is also great is that we have a 4-year-old out on the ice, Matthew Stungis, who caught his very first fish. He won’t touch it, but he is having a great time.”
“You never know, we could have a future tournament fisherman out there today,” Jack Danchak added. “It is just nice to see adults and kids together out there having fun. This is a great family event and every year we look forward to seeing those smiling faces who have caught a fish.”
Hank D’Auria of the Sullivan County Long Beards, who was helping out by driving kids and parents back and fourth on a 4x4 ATV donated for the day by Pine Bush Equipment, added, “The kids are having so much fun and it is great seeing them all out there. They are so eager to show off their fish they caught and it is great just being a part of this great event that proves to get better and better every year.”
Every child who participated this year received a knit hat and a Federation button.
This year’s winners were:
Biggest Pickerel Ryan Buley, 24.5 inches long and 4 lb., 2 oz.
Largest Perch Matthew Millis, 13.4 inches long
Any other legal species Bria Boniface, 8.5 inch sunfish.