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The "Strawberry 10,000" won't happen before the spring thaw.

The U.S. Forest Service announced Monday that the controversial fishing tournament put on hold last week must await a formal environmental assessment, a process that will take at least six months.The fish contest would have awarded $10,000 to whichever of 3,500 official contestants caught the biggest rainbow trout out of the Strawberry Reservoir Oct. 1. Critics, including a number of fly-fisherman groups, opposed the derby, saying it would threatened a delicate fishery that was reseeded only three years ago and is still in the recovery stage. They also said it would attract more than 3,500, drawing numerous contestants fishing off the same entry.

Loyal Clark, a forest service spokeswoman, said sponsors originally said only between 500 and 1,000 people would participate. Allied, the Murray sporting goods store, was sponsoring the event with radio station Z-93.