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Mill River Brewing and FNLC Ice Fishing Derby

February 22, 2020 @ 7:00 am - 7:00 pm

Join us on February 22nd at Shipyard Bay on Lake Champlain for our first ice fishing derby with our friends at Mill River Brewing BBQ & Smokehouse. This is a family event with prizes for all ages throughout the day, and awards ceremony and meal provided by Mill River Brewing will wrap up the fundraising event.  

Come Ice Fishing with Us!

Join us on the lake in the Missisquoi Bay area and fish for yellow perch at our inaugural ice fishing derby on February 22nd! All participants will have a chance to win all sorts of prizes valued at $35 or more, and bring the whole family for a day of fun!

We encourage you to pack a lunch for the day. Following the derby, a meal will be provided by Mill River Brewing BBQ and Smokehouse.

Fishing shanties can be rented from Martin’s General Store for a fee; please contact them directly for details at 802.868.4459.

Here is everything you need to know:

Registration Information

We encourage you to register your family for this event. For each individual over the age of 10, the fee is $25; all children ten and under entry into the derby is free.

Online registration will be open until Noon on February 21st, don’t worry if you miss the deadline, you can register at the event between 7am – 8am during check-in.

Your ticket includes:

  • Ice Fishing Derby entry
  • Opportunity to win great cash prizes for adults and kids
  • Chance to win in the top five overall
  • Learn and familiarize yourself with water quality issues and improvements
  • Entry for a meal by Mill River Brewing at the VFW Post 778, 8 Merchants Row, Swanton, VT

Registration/Check-In is located on the ice at Shipyard Bay Boat Launch in Highgate Springs, VT. Get Directions, or scroll for a map. Check-in/Registration at Shipyard Bay will be between 7am – 8am.

When registering, add each individual to your shopping cart, then complete checkout. If you have any issues, please email or call us at 802.923.6740. All payments are processed through PayPal via your credit or debit card. A receipt of this transaction will be emailed to you upon completion of payment.

Happenings Throughout the Day

Prizes and Awards

Throughout the day, participants have an opportunity to win hourly prizes. Every hour a prize is given to the top three yellow perch weights. Note: the fish must be alive to be weighed! In other words, dead fish are not eligible for entry. See rules for details.

The weigh-in station will be on the ice, making it easy for participants to submit the good ones!

At the awards ceremony, adults and youth will be entered into the top prizes and awards. There will be prizes for the Top Five overall, who will receive trophies, and to up the ante, the Top 3 will also be awarded trophies and cash valued prizes!

Store Tasting Event

Take a break from the ice and stop by Martin’s General Store between 1pm and 4pm to meet the folks from Mill River Brewing for an in-store beer tasting! Various brews will be available to sample, including the beer that started this partnership, Lake Dayz! For every four-pack purchased, a portion of proceeds comes directly to FNLC. Drink responsibly.

After Party & Awards Ceremony

We invite you to join us for an after-party and awards ceremony following the derby from 5pm – 7pm at the VFW Post 778, 8 Merchants Row, Swanton, VT by none other than our hosts at Mill River Brewing!

Cash prizes and trophies will be award to participants! See rules for details.


  • Our derby headquarters are inside the large shanty at Shipyard Bay Dock. The weigh-in station is at Shipyard Beach, near the dock. Please look for the signs. Bathrooms are available at Martin’s Store and a port-o-let near the derby headquarters.
  • The fishing territory for this derby is from Shipyard Bay, on Missisquoi Bay, to the Missisquoi Bay Bridge in West Swanton. Please DO NOT fish in Canadian territory.
  • This is a yellow-perch-only derby. Only yellow perch will be available for prizes.
  • We are encouraging a catch-and-release atmosphere to reduce fish waste.
  • There is no limit on fish size, but all fish MUST be freshly caught and alive in water to be weighed. We will NOT accept or weigh frozen fish.
  • There are hourly prizes available today for fish weights: $35 for 1st place, $25 for 2nd place and $20 for 3rd place. We are limiting hourly prizes to one per person.
  • You must have your fish weighed by the top of each hour — no later. Otherwise, consider your fish for the next hourly prize.
  • The weigh-ins are at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. & 3 p.m. Each participant can only weigh one fish per hour.
  • Every weighed fish is the property of the derby committee.
  • All decisions of the derby committee and Weigh Master Shawn White are final.
  • Please pick up your trash and recyclables and place them in the bins provided by the Northwest Vermont Solid Waste Management District.
  • Please stop by derby headquarters with questions — and FISH RESPONSIBLY!

Legal Stuff

Vermont State Law requires that anyone age 15 or older carry a fishing license. Children under the age of 15 are not required to have a VT Fishing License and are free. The cost of a fishing license for Vermont Residents is as follows:

  • Child under the age of 15 is $0
  • Child age 15-17 years old is $8
  • 18+ must have a minimum of a three-day license at $11, or a purchase a season license for $28.
  • Non-residents are a one-day license only at the rate of $21

More information about fishing licenses can be found at the Vermont Fish and Wildlife website. Licenses can be purchased at any Vermont bait shop, including our partners in this event at Martin’s General Store.

Our campaign is all about making sure that we leave the legacy of our lake better than we’ve found it for future generations. We encourage you to fish responsibly, dispose of dead fish and garbage appropriately, and ask us how you can be a better advocate for the lake.

Weather and Ice Safety

The weather is an interesting thing here in Vermont, and with that in mind, we will be paying careful attention to the weather forecast and ice thickness in the days leading up to the event. We will notify participants via email should the weather and ice greatly impact our event.

For your reference, for ice fishing, the lake must be between 4-5 inches thick, snowmobiles, and ATVs can generally be on the ice if it is 5-6 inches thick, cars and small trucks at 8-12 inches, and medium trucks at 12-15 inches thick. This information is a general guideline and not to be used as absolute; if you take a vehicle onto the ice, you are doing so at your own risk.

As with any event that is subject to weather, if the safety of the ice is not suitable to hold the derby, it will be canceled. There will be no refunds; your registration fee will be a donation to FNLC; this is a fundraising event benefiting the Friends of Northern Lake Champlain, a local 501(c)3 dedicated to preserving and improving the quality of Lake Champlain for decades to come.

Ice Fishing Derby Media Coverage

My Champlain Valley (ABC22/Fox44) interviewed Kent Henderson, Board Chair and Corey Williams (CorBob) of Mill River Brewing BBQ & Smokehouse to announce the inaugural event. Watch here.

WPTZ News Channel 5 covered the event on Saturday, February 22nd. Watch now.



February 22, 2020
7:00 am - 7:00 pm


VFW Post 778
8 Merchants Row
Swanton, VT 054788 United States


Mill River Brewing BBQ & Smokehouse