The Denny's Outdoor Sports Fishing Derby is something everyone looks forward to. The following is an article written by The Roseau Times Region's writer Jeff Olsen, discussing the 7th Annual Derby of 2009.


The Champs - (front) Mike Burkel, Danny Spindler and Bob Dunn (back) Roger Fuller, Rachel Kieson, Monica Burkel, Justin Kjos and Mike Vacura (missing) Darryl Norstebon Ullman

With the winners at the 7th annual Roseau River fishing derby
by Jeff Olsen

Last Saturday, it was impossible to miss the enthusiasm in the faces of the potential winners inside the outdoor tent at the American Legion in Roseau.
They scanned the leader board and sized up their catches before officially being weighed in.
Around 2:45 on Saturday afternoon, here came Mike and Monica Burkel carrying a couple of northerns that looked very respectable as money fish, which this derby is all about.
Monica had landed her 9.13 pound northern almost right away on Saturday morning.
I caught it on a Shadrap, she said.
Ms. Burkel appeared to have runner-up money unless somebody bumped her from second place in the remaining moments.
This, of course, would have hurt Mike, who shortly weighed in his northern at 7.01 pounds and good for third place.
I caught it near Stoes at about 2:20, he said.
That was just time enough to reel it in and get their boat ashore and head to town.
With just minutes remaining before tournament director Denny Kjos declared the weigh-ins for the 7th annual Roseau River Fishing Tournament officially closed, you couldnt miss the next group.
The three of them, all huge, came across the grass at the Roseau American Legion and made rapid strides toward the weigh-in tent.
Daryl Big D Mickelson, and his sons, Ethan and Zac, appeared like they had a winner.
But some people were thinking along different lines: That theres no way all three of them could fit in the same boat.
But more about that later.
At precisely 3 p.m., Mr. Kjos declared that his main man, Ivan Hedlund, would weigh in no more fish.
This meant that those in win, place and show on the leader board were in the money $300 for first, $150 for second, and $75 for third.
Standing off to one side was Chad Fuller, who was beaming that his 10-year-old son, Roger, was in the money with a 4.13 pound sheephead carp, good for third place and $75 in the Other Category.
Hes happier than hell, said Mr. Fuller.
It took a little prompting, but the Roseau fifth grader found his tongue.
I caught it on a spinner near High Pockets, he said.
And then his dad took over, explaining that High Pockets is the favorite fishing spot of the renowned Ben Ullman, a two-time champion.
Young Roger Fuller was fixing to share and share alike. And why not? He had a trophy almost as big as he is.
He was going to split the loot with his dad and his dads girl, Misty Yonke.
Badgers Bob Dunn earned runner-up in the Other category with a five-pound sheephead carp.
Its my first time in the tourney, he said, mentioning that hed caught it on a crawler with a spinner.
For a brief moment, Mr. Dunn almost apologized that he had caught such an ugly fish.
Its a rough fish to win on, but its still money, he said.
Darryl Norstebon, the winner in the Other category with a six-pound sheephead carp, didnt bother to stick around for the awards ceremony.
Mr. Kjos will hold his 1st place trophy and $300 check until Mr. Norstebon hits town again.
For the second consecutive year, the walleyes were downright scrawny.
So scrawny that the eventual winner, Justin Kjos, hadnt even planned to weigh his in.
I caught it as we were waiting to end the day, he said, explaining that his partner, Scott Kofstad, had gotten his boat tangled up with a tree underneath the bridge.
I made a cast, he said, mentioning there was a strike and that he had seen the white top fin as the fish swam away.
Mr. Kjos wasnt about to let a good opportunity pass.
I just flipped the Rapala back in the water and did a figure eight.
Bingo. He caught it while his partner was heading up to the boat landing.
I wasnt even going to weigh it, he said about his $300 walleye that weighed in at 2.02 pounds.
And what had changed his mind?
When I saw the leader board, he said.
Yes, the leader board told the story on the skimpy walleyes.
Which gets around to the Mickelsons, who had one bright spot on the day.
They were in two boats and they had a winner in Rachel Kieson, who earned runner-up honors with a 1.13 pound walleye.
Ms. Kieson, 18 and a Goodridge native, mentioned that it was her first time in the tourney.
I was fishing with my boyfriend Zac, and I caught it on a Rapala with the brand new fishing rod that he bought me, she said. My boyfriend will get kissed later.
Zac Mickelson smiled like he had won something better than money.
Danny Spindler could only grin and bear it. By one-hundredth of a pound, he got edged out for second place honors.
I was fishing just west of Trangsrud off the bridge, he said, mentioning that he caught his 1.12 pound walleye on a worm.
The big winner in the northern category was Mike Vacura, who easily won top honors over Monica and Mike Burkel, the respective second and third place finishers.
Mr. Vacura caught his 12.11 pound northern on a Rapala west of Stoes Bridge.
I caught it when my partner, Dan Christopherson, was pulling in a fish, he said, recalling that it wasnt exactly like reeling in a sunfish.
It went under the boat three times, he said. It looked like Moby Dick.
Oh, he got it into the boat eventually.
And he was a happy angler on Saturday afternoon at the 7th annual Roseau River Fishing Tournament.
I never won nothing before, he said, glancing down at the $300 check that proves he is the champ until next year.
Looking Ahead
There will be an eight annual Roseau River Fishing Tournament in 2010, according to Denny Kjos, tournament director.
Yes, he said, the number of entrants were down this year with 85 compared to 105 a year ago.
Again, he wanted to thank the staff at the Roseau American Legion for allowing him the use of the facilities.
He credited Ivan Hedlund, the sheriff of the weigh-ins, for a super job. He also thanked Nancy Taylor and Teri Kjos for handling everything from registration to ordering trophies to photo ops.
Well be back next year, he said, as he prepared to move the leader board back to Dennys Outdoor Sports, where this years top three will hold bragging rights until next August.



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