Deadline New Year’s Eve for friendly competition at world-class ice-fishing derby

Ice fishing stock image | St. George News

PANGUITCH, Utah — Panguitch Lake is inviting avid ice fishers to showcase their skills and compete for prizes during the first annual “Panguitch Lake Big Fish Derby” running from Jan. 2 through Feb. 27.

“We are really looking forward to launching this as the first of many annual fishing derbies,” event organizer Kevin Moore said. “The money going into this event will be used to build up the program and make it bigger and better for the following years.”

Ice fisherman | Photo courtesy xxx, St. George News
Ice fisherman | Photo courtesy of Sorenson Advertising, St. George News

Participants have two ways to get involved throughout the event. The first way is by catching a previously tagged fish at any time — day or night — during the two-month-long derby. The winner will receive the grand prize of an ice-fishing package worth $1,000. If the tagged fish is not caught, the prize will be broken up and raffled off among all participants.

“The ‘Panguitch Lake Big Fish Derby’ will add even more competition and energy into this popular winter sport,” Falyn Owens, Executive Director at Garfield County Office of Tourism said. “Ice fishing is part of our heritage and we are excited to welcome newcomers to join in the fun.”

In addition to the grand prize, participants can compete in five mini tournaments occurring every other Saturday from 6 a.m. to noon beginning on Jan. 2. Each tournament will compete for a different category of fish and contestants must check in their fish by noon to be eligible for a prize.

“The word Panguitch comes from the Native American Paiute language and means ‘Big Fish,’” Owens said. “The derby provides a great opportunity for Panguitch Lake to live up to its name.”

Panguitch Lake Winter Scene, undated | Photo courtesy xxx, St. George News
Panguitch Lake Winter Scene, undated | Photo courtesy of Sorenson Advertising, St. George News

The lake is known to produce fish up to 13 pounds and is an ideal destination for those looking to reel in a big catch. In fact, fishing is the most popular attraction at the lake, making it a favorite spot both in the summer and winter months.

Organizers have planned prizes for both the adult and youth divisions as a way to encourage participation from fishing enthusiasts of all ages. Anyone 12 and under can compete for prizes in the youth division.

“We made sure to include youth prizes because we’d really like to see more kids fishing,” Moore said. “We’re hoping to see a lot of younger anglers get involved in the tournament.”

Important clues about where the grand-prize-winning fish may be will be posted throughout the event on the Panguitch Main Street Facebook page. Participants can also check the Facebook page for up-to-date information about the derby.

Panguitch Fishing Derby poster | Photo courtesy of Sorenson Advertising, St. George News
Panguitch Fishing Derby poster | Photo courtesy of Sorenson Advertising, St. George News

Participants should be aware that the competition is strictly for rainbow trout, not cutthroat or even mixed trout. If a fish with any cutthroat markings is checked in, that fish will be disqualified.

Registration information

Registration deadline: 5 p.m., Dec. 31

Entry Fee: $20

Pay online at

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Twitter: @STGNews

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