Zearing ice fishing derby organizers are hoping for colder temperatures

Marlys Barker Special to the Herald

Organizers of the annual Dakins Lake Ice Fishing Derby, planned this year for Feb. 9, are hoping for some cooperation from Mother Nature.

“Prior to this heat wave, the lake had six inches of good ice,” said David Skinner, a member of the Zearing Volunteer Fire Department and a key organizer for the Department-sponsored fishing event. “We would like to have 10 inches of good ice for the derby. If we get back to normal January temperatures, we should be OK come Feb. 9 for ice.”

That’s a big “if,” and there’s not a whole lot that can be done if temperatures don’t return to normal. If there isn’t enough good ice on Feb. 9, the event would be postponed one week, to Saturday, Feb. 16. If ice thickness isn’t good by then, Skinner said they’d likely cancel for this year. “It’s all ‘to be determined’” at this point, he said.

If it works out, this year will be the fourth annual ice fishing derby, an event that has helped raise funds to chiefly support the local fire department. That department, however, has shared the funds with other community needs in the past three years. The first event raised funds to purchase ice rescue gear for the local firefighters. In 2016, proceeds helped with a scoreboard for the youth ballfield. In 2018, funds helped purchase a new trailer for the fire and rescue organization.

This year’s derby seeks to raise funds for the Veterans’ Memorial Ballfield Committee in Zearing to assist in the cost of lighting for the community’s treasured ballfield. The event basically will “raise funds to ‘raise’ the lights,” Skinner said. That includes costs of wiring, fixtures, cables, installation and making the lights functional, he added.

Eight people are involved in the planning process for this year’s ice fishing derby, but on “game day,” Skinner said about 30 to 40 volunteers show up to help with all the derby activities. “We pull volunteers from the Colo-NESCO school district area of Zearing, McCallsburg and Colo and get assistance from the Story County Conservation Team,” he said.

Other agencies that have key roles in helping with the event include Zearing Fire and EMS, city of Zearing and the Veterans Memorial Ballfield Committee.

The total number of businesses, individuals and organizations that provide sponsorship and support is at 74 so far this year. Skinner said these supporters have helped out in many different ways. “Donations, cash, merchandise, services, volunteers, meal and equipment.”

Among the things that volunteers help with the day of the tournament are registration, serving a chili meal, parking, judging, prizes and awards, fundraiser raffles and contests, setup, helping drill holes, kids’ fishing and safety.

Any businesses or people who would like to help sponsor this year’s event should call Skinner at 515-290-3478.

To find registration forms and rules, go to zearingiowa.com or to 4th Annual Dakins Lake Ice Fishing Derby on Facebook.