ROXBURY – Unlike last winter’s late ice arrival, there will be plenty of thick ice for the 29th annual Larry Mercier Memorial Mexico Lions Club Ice Fishing Derby on Saturday, Feb. 23, on Roxbury Pond.

Bring a long auger, though, because according to co-organizer Jim Theriault, the ice was 20 inches thick two weeks ago.

“The ice shouldn’t be a problem like last year. We were worried sick then,” Theriault said last week. “Standard augers are just about making it through.”

There is an entry fee of $5 for the event, which runs from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. There are first-, second- and third-place cash prizes for largest pickerel and bass catches, $50 for the largest trout, $20 for largest perch, and a whopping $2,000 for a specially tagged brook trout.

“No one’s ever gotten (the tagged brookie) the day of the derby, but some have been caught during the summer. It doesn’t count then, though. We’ve been very fortunate. That (payout is) a good chunk of change,” Theriault said.

This year’s tagged 3-pound brookie and two companions – all measuring between 16 and 18 inches long – will be picked up from Dunham’s hatchery in Avon shortly before the event and put into the pond at a secret location.

In addition to cash prizes, the Lions Club will offer several door prizes and raffle off an ice auger, an ice-fishing basket with five traps inside, a marine hand-held walkie-talkie radio, and a metal sled that can be hauled behind a snowmobile.

“We did that two years ago,” Theriault said of the metal sled raffle, “and it went over very good. It was kind of a last-minute thing, because a guy donated it to us. We made over $500 on that and it’s worth about $300.”

All prizes will be awarded at 3 p.m. on the day of the derby. The Lions lunch wagon will also be available for hot dogs, hamburgers, soda, coffee and more.

For more information, contact Roland Patenaude at 562-0949 or 364-2827, or Theriault, the Lions’ president, at 364-9050.

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