By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV New Hampshire Bureau Chief

LACONIA, NH (CBS) – On Lake Winnipesaukee Thursday, fisherman were getting ready for the annual Winni Derby. If they haul in the big catch this year, they will have to take a lie detector test.

With rumors swirling that past winners have lied to win, this years organizers are enforcing rule 15, which says “All winners of any Grand or Major prize will be required to sign a sworn affidavit provided by the Derby…the participant and the witness agree to submit to a polygraph examination.”

“I think it’s a good rule,” said contestant Rick Brown of Lebanon, New Hampshire. “In the past there have been people bringing in fish from other lakes. If they can’t do it fair, they shouldn’t be here.”

The Laconia Rotary Club, which runs the derby, says with thousands of dollars at stake, including $12,500 for the biggest salmon, contestants could be influenced to not play by the rules.

“Yeah that may elevate it,” said Derby committee member Robert Stewart. “Some people feel the need to win at all costs and that’s very unfortunate for the Winni Derby and humanity overall.”

The fish must be caught in the lake, but there has been buzz and blog posts that some of the past champions have cheated and presented fish caught elsewhere. The event has always been done on the honor system.

About $10,000 will be raised from derby entry fees. But donations to charity will be cut short by about $500, the cost of the polygraph test.

The grand prize won’t be awarded until the lie detector is completed.

“We’ll announce the grand prize winner on Sunday and we will not hand out the prize that evening,” said Derby Chairwoman Diane Labrie.

  1. I don’t doubt that illegal entries have happened in the past. Some fools will go to great measures to win, even illegal ones. I think that the “lie detector” is a good idea. Another thing that bothers me is that I fish alone and I have caught and videos some 3+ lb salmon that I have caught but with no witnesses. Nobody in another boat that you are competing with is going to be your witness, plus they would not stop fishing to give you their information. It doesn’t seem very fair. ALso, it is pretty foolish to think that if someone is cheating that their witness will not be lying as well. There has to be a better way.

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