School Days Fishing Derby

Pike fishing derby

Let’s enjoy the last days of summer with a fishing derby celebration! The Illinois DNR’s Jake Wolf Memorial Fish Hatchery, Dickson Mounds Museum, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge have put together an alternative, kid friendly fishing derby where you can participate and win prizes, while adhering to guidance from national, state and local public health authorities. Simply snap a photo of your catch and email your photo to us (see What to Submit, Where to Send It, and By When)! Or, enter the derby through one of our other creative categories listed below.

The School Days Virtual Fishing Derby is September 1 through September 30, 2020. You can participate in any, or all three event categories, from your home or local fishing hole. We will select 4 winners each week! Prizes can be picked up at Dickson Mounds Museum.

 

  • Become a Junior Angler

    Young girl with fish by Bruce Hallman/ USFWS

     Test your knowledge and learn something new! 

    • Complete any of the activities on the Junior Angler Activities Page, or pick up any activity brochure at the Illinois River Refuges kiosks and Dickson Mounds Museum.
    • Send us your completed work. See "What to Submit, Where to Send It, and By When" for instructions.
    • All participants will be included in weekly drawings for fishing equipment including rods, reels, lures, and tackle-boxes from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

     

     

  • Go Fishing

    Lake Trout by Mike Seider USFWS

    Go fishing! Find a local fishing hole and show us what you caught! 

    • Take a picture of you and your fish, you fishing, your creative fishing gear or whatever other fun fishing related experience you have during this event. Send it to us with a note about your experience.
    • Fish any local fishing spot near you. Take a photo of the largest sunfish, channel catfish, or largemouth bass you catch between September 1 and September 30. Photo must include the entire length of your fish alongside an easy to read standard measuring device, such as a tape measure. Prizes will be given to winning anglers who are 15 years or younger.
    • A little hungry after all that fishing? Share with us the meals you made with your catch. Snap a photo of your fish and your fish meal and let us know how delicious it was.
    • Send us your submissions. See "What to Submit, Where to Send It, and By When" for instructions.
    • We will share your stories, photos, and recipes on our social media pages.
    • The largest sunfish, channel catfish, and largemouth bass winners will be announced on our social media.

      Remember to follow your state fishing rules. In Illinois, anyone 16 or older must have a fishing license. Learn more about Illinois license and regulation information.

    • Cast Out Your Creativity

      Dragonfly on fishing rod by Mara Koenig USFWS

      Fish are works of Art! Fishing is an Art! Show us your artistic versions of your own experiences with fish. Use whatever media moves you: photography, watercolor, sculpture, song, dance, poetry, short story, etc. 

      • Create and submit any form of your own original fish art.
      • Send us your submissions by whatever method best preserves the quality of the artwork: mail, email, text, or coordinate a time to drop it off at the refuge. See "What to Submit, Where to Send It, and By When" for instructions.
      • Entries will be displayed on our social media.
      • Original pieces may be used for a virtual and/or physical art exhibit.
      • All participants will be included in a drawing for fishing equipment from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

       

    • What to Submit, Where to Send it and By When

       

      What to Submit? Any of the following.

      • Completed Jr Angler activities
      • Fishing photos (you fishing, you and your catch, your fish dinner (include recipe!), you with your creative fishing gear, etc.) Include a note about your experience.
      • Photos of the sunfish, channel catfish, or largemouth bass you caught, alongside a standard measuring device to show length. Include the name of the body of water your fish was caught from. All ages are welcome to send in photos, but only those 15 and younger will be eligible for prizes.
      • Original fish related artwork.
      • Signed Copyright Agreement so we can use your entries in social or print media.
      • Signed Use of Likeness Agreement so we can use photos that include minors (under 18) in social or print media.

       

      Where to Send? Choose any of the following.

      • Mail to: School Days, Jake Wolf Memorial Fish Hatchery, 25410 Fish Hatchery Rd, Topeka, IL 61567.
      • Email to: Frank.Sladek@illinois.gov
      • Text a photo of entries to 708-646-3653

       

      When to Send By?

      • Submissions need to be submitted by September 30, 2020.

       

      Please remember to give yourself and others a six-foot fishing pole length of space between you when you enjoy the great outdoors with others. Take care of yourselves and help take care of fish habitats. Contact us if you have questions or want to report issues.

      All prize winners will be contact via email or phone call. Prizes must be picked up at Dickson Mounds Museum during normal business hours, Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm.

      If visiting a national wildlife refuge or other public spaces during this pandemic, we ask visitors to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees. As services are limited, we urge visitors to continue to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safer and healthier.

       

       

    • Copyright Release Agreement

      To participate in the Fishing Derby, send in a photo or your original artwork and all applicable forms via text, email, or snail mail. On the Copyright Release Agreement, choose between allowing anyone to use your photo or restricting use to only U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

      Copyright Release Agreement

    • Agreement for Use of Likeness

      If you share a photo with recognizable people, please submit the Agreement for Use of Likeness for anyone in the photo. You can put everyone on the same form. See the "Where to Send" section for submission details.

      Use of Likeness

    • Credits

      Artwork by Sara Wolman/USFWS, Rachel Stein/USFWS, Hannah Green/USFWS, Sara Giles/USFWS, and Lesley Straub/Volunteer.

    • References

      Cooley, Thomas M. (2019). Loon Mortality in Michigan 1987-2019. PowerPoint Presentation. Michigan Department of Natural Resources - Wildlife Disease Lab.

      Golden, Nancy H., Warner, Sarah E., and Coffey, Michael J. (2016). A Review and Assessment of Spent Lead Ammunition and Its Exposure and Effects to Scavenging Birds in the United States.