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The season begins on The Big Lake and the LCI is a go

"Fish swim and boats float," Ehlers said.

"Unless they drain the lake there's going to be a Father's Day derby."

Ehlers said there are more access points open than closed and said those who are hesitant to be on the water can still fish from shore.

"We don't require boats," he said.

This year's derby features more than $750,000 in cash and prizes, including the $300,000 "Mystery Fish" three Starcraft boats rigged with Yamaha outboards, and $3,000 guaranteed to each of the first-place finishers in the seven species categories.

The basic registration fee is $40. This year's event kicks off June 18 at midnight and continues through 4 p.m. June 20, with a dozen weigh stations scattered throughout the lake. People can register at outlets around the Champlain basin right up until the start of the derby.

Other prizes include GPS units from Lowrance, Gas Grills from Gander Mountain, gift certificates from Traxstech, Able, and Big Jon, as well as over $12,000 worth of lures from makers like Sebile, Eppinger, Challenger, Mooselook, Lhur Jensen and Grizz Baits.

For more information on the LCI, such as registration and weigh-in locations, visit www.mychamplain.net.

John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. He can be reached at johng@denpubs.com.

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