N.H. fishing derby, sled dog organizers feel the heat


MEREDITH, N.H. (AP) – The annual ice-fishing derby and world championship sled dog races are a month away, but with little ice or snow, organizers are keeping their eyes on the sky and the thermometer.

Organizers of the Great Rotary Fishing Derby say they are confident winter will return in time to freeze a few solid inches of ice on the lakes by derby time, Feb. 10-11.

“I’m very confident were going to have ice,” said Derby Chairman Rick Ippolito. “We need temperatures in the 10s then about an inch of ice a night forms.”

Last year’s derby was postponed because of poor ice conditions. It was held when thick ice finally arrived, but bitter cold temperatures and unusually high winds toppled bob houses, pushing some into open water.

In neighboring Laconia, Jim Lyman is optimistic the annual sled dog races will go off as scheduled the same weekend as the fishing derby.

“There’s no question that we need some snow and some cold weather,” he said. “The jet stream should change, it usually does and you’ve got to think positive.”

Lyman, president and trail boss for the Lakes Region Sled Dog Club, is hoping for snow.

“Our race is still more than a month away,” he said. “If we can get some snow starting the third or fourth week of January, we can still have a race.”

Last year’s race was canceled due to lack of snow.

Anglers headed to the region for the fishing derby will find some new attractions.

The Meredith Rotary Club said those who register for the derby will receive special discounts.

“The concept is to basically allow people to fish for free,” said Ippolito. He said the $30 cost of a derby ticket can be recouped by eating at area restaurants.

The derby is a huge fundraiser for the Rotary Club, which awards scholarships and other projects.

Information from: Citizen, http://www.fosters.com/citizen

AP-ES-01-06-07 1959EST