Mat-Su Kids Ice Fishing Derby

Contributed by Jennifer Ehmann

We would like to invite you to join us at the Mat-Su Kids Ice Fishing Derby Saturday February, 20th 2016 on Finger Lake in Palmer.

The 4th Annual Matsu Kids Ice Fishing Derby has grown to be Alaska’s largest Ice Fishing Derby, and has raised over $35,000 for Make-A-Wish Alaska in the last three years.

With funds from this year’s event we hope to surpass the $50,000 mark. We Thank our community and generous sponsors for their support in achieving these goals.

Why Make-A-Wish? Butch and I have been fortunate enough to be able to volunteer and assist in three wishes that have taken place in the Mat-Su. We have seen first-hand the difference wishes make for children affected with life threatening illnesses.

When we learned that only one in four eligible children are granted their wish we knew we needed to help.

About the organizers: Butch and I are lifelong Alaskans who call Palmer home and host this event through our youth education and guide service business Ehmann Outdoors.

Thousands of hours are dedicated to this event and we are grateful to be joined by a group of tireless volunteers who also see the value of giving children an opportunity to fish.

Year after year we continue to be in complete awe over the resounding response from the business community in support of this event. Without this support of volunteers, businesses, and families this event would not be possible. Thank you!

Our Goals: Not only do we want to raise funds for Make-A-Wish we also want to provide more children with an opportunity to connect with the outdoors through ice fishing. We encourage families to fish together and as a result last year we had over 3000 people on the ice during the derby.

With free entry, pre-drilled ice holes, a rod loan program, homemade fishing rod contest, and volunteers on-hand to help with fishing tips families who have never fished before can enjoy this event.

Raising Money: So how do we raise money for Make-A-Wish if there’s no entry fee?

Our funds come from generous contributions from sponsors and raffle proceeds. Each raffle ticket is $10 and tickets can be purchased at event.

We have thousands of dollars in raffle prizes which include a kids four wheeler, Jiffy ice augers, underwater camera, ice fishing shelter, Three Rivers custom ice fishing rods, Sears tool box, Mr. Heater Buddy Heaters, gift certificates, IPAD mini, train tickets, and much much more.

Activities: We will continue this year with an interactive fish stocking demonstration where the ADF&G hatchery staff will join us on the ice at noon and help children pour buckets of fish into the lake. This along with free hot chocolate, and visitors like Safety Bear will continue to ensure children look forward to derby year after year!

Prizes and trophies will be awarded to the 3 longest fish in each age category. Age categories range from 0 - 15 years old. We also have medals for all the kids who fish that will be handed out at the end of the awards ceremony at 2:15pm. Registration will open at 9:00am and remain open until 1:00pm.

The Derby will take place between 9:00am - 2:00pm with the awards ceremony and raffle drawing at 2:15pm.

Please feel free to contact us for more information or questions on Facebook @ Ehmann Outdoors or by email at