The Winni Derby began in 1980 as an attempt to reduce the number of Landlocked Salmon in Lake Winnipesaukee. The lake had been overstocked, and it tipped mother natures delicate balance, leading to a decline in population of other species of fish and aquatic wildlife. Other rumored ideas for lowering the population was a lowering the minimum legal length to 14 or 12 inches or perhaps raising the fishing limit. In the end, the derby was the solution that pleased everyone, and it continues to please fisherman and the local economy today.
The derby is held in May and is one of two major fishing derbies in the Lakes Region. The event attracts people from every state in the country with the enticing lure of winning a share of the grand prizes.
There are two divisions. The junior division is open to all participants under the age 16 and the entry fee is $30. The participants in the junior division will not be eligible for any of the Grand Prize boats, but are eligible for daily or major awards. The adult division is open to all persons aged 16 or older and the entry fee is $40. You can pick up entry forms up at many outlets and sport shops around Lake Winnipesaukee or through the offical website. (link below)
Once you have paid your fees and have registered, you may need a fishing license. If you are not a resident of New Hampshire and are over 16 years of age, you must have a valid New Hampshire fishing license. You can get a license by clicking here to access the New Hampshire Fish and Game website, where you can buy your official license online, or at one of the over 275 retail locations that sell licenses, click here to find one near you.
If you catch a fish that you think might be a winner, don't delay. You must enter your fish on the same day that it is caught. You also must fill out a fish entry form as well as have a witness attest that you caught the fish you are entering. The witness must be at least 18 years old and be willing to sign an official entry form. If your fish is a winner, you must pick up your prize up at the time they are awarded. You will be eligible for one grand or major prize, so do not miss the awards ceremony!
There isn't too much fine print. Unlike the Meredith Derby, only Salmon and Lake Trout from Lake Winnipesaukee are acceptable. Lake Trout caught at least 24 inches long. Salmon caught must be at least 20 inches long. Your boat must be equipped according to the New Hampshire Marine Safety laws, and registration from NH or your state is required. All fish entered must be caught following NH fishing laws will be inspected by fish and game and derby personnel. You may not gut or gaff your fish. Each participant agrees that the Lakes Region Inland Fishing Association and everyone associated with it are not responsible for any bodily injury including death or any other dam-age sustained by a participant during the three days of the Winni Derby.