NORWAY – After engaging her dad in a laid-back snowball fight on Saturday on Norway Lake, 13-year-old Molly Hook got her soap wand out and began blowing bubbles beside her ice-fishing trap.

The Baldwin youngster, who was born in North Carolina, wasn’t used to Maine ice-fishing’s tedious pace, mom Tina Hook said during the first day of the Norway-Paris Fish and Game Association’s 38th annual two-day ice fishing derby.

“She’s not used to waiting for fish to bite,” Tina Hook said, lounging in a nearby deck chair with her husband, Richard. “She’s used to catching catfish and eels down South,” right after dropping in a line.

Fishing on the western end of the lake was pretty slow through 1:30 p.m. Saturday on a warm afternoon. The Northeast Bank sign on Route 26 in Paris read 36 degrees at 1:30 p.m.

About 50 miles north, at the 29th annual Larry Mercier Memorial Mexico Lions Club Ice Fishing Derby on Roxbury Pond, the action was anything but slow for the Bunten family and friends.

“We probably caught 30 or 40 fish, and I’m tired,” Roxbury Planning Board Chairman Barry Bunten said. Bunten, along with Eli Bunten, 8, Jesse Wales, 12, and two other children, caught mostly bass, white perch and yellow perch.

Shortly before the Roxbury Pond derby ended at 3 p.m., Eli Bunten brought in a 21-inch-long pickerel that weighed 2 pounds. He and his brother Jesse, however, were chagrined to learn they’d just missed third place. Three years ago, one took first place for the biggest pickerel; the other, third place.

Catches registered by early Saturday afternoon at the Norway derby included only three bass, the biggest of which was caught by Caleb Grover and measured 16 inches and weighed 2 pounds, 4 ounces.

Jordan Fadden, 13, of Oxford registered a brown trout that weighed 1 pound and 14 ounces.

It was Fadden’s first time ice fishing, according to Dan Grover, the youth leader at Oxford Hills Christian Fellowship Church.

“She caught it on a shiner after about an hour of fishing. She didn’t know what to think when she caught it. She went, ‘Wow!’ ” Grover said.

The Roxbury derby was also a first for Shelby Shurtleff, 8, of Dixfield and Jakob Taylor, 7, of Randolph, who caught the biggest bass at 17 inches and nearly 3 pounds.

Taylor’s fish bumped his dad, Jeremy Milligan, out of third place. Milligan, a Rumford native, caught a bass measuring 16 inches that weighed 2 pounds.

The Norway derby differs from the Roxbury contest in that it’s spread over two days, and anglers can catch fish in other lakes and ponds. The Roxbury derby was a one-day, one-pond outing.

Money raised from both derbies, however, benefits others. The Lions Club proceeds go toward eye care in the River Valley, whereas the Norway-Paris Fish and Game Association uses its derby proceeds to send youngsters to the Bryant Pond Conservation School in Woodstock.

“We average eight to 12 kids a year,” association Vice President Fern Bosse said. “We probably send more kids than most other clubs, and that’s what it’s all about now. We’re getting the kids interested in it and involved in the outdoors.”

That, too, was a goal of the Roxbury derby, which drew more than 200 anglers and a few hundred others of all ages.

Pullout Box:

Roxbury Pond ice-fishing derby winners:


1. Morgan Theriault – 23 inches, 2 pounds.

2. Roland Cote – 22 inches and just over 3 pounds.

3. Roland Cote – 22 inches, 2 pounds.


1. Jakob Taylor, 7, of Randolph – 17 inches, 2-and-7/8s pounds.

2. Adam Capponi – 16 inches, 2 pounds.

3. Vito Coulombe of Rumford – 16 inches, 2 pounds.


Travis Laughton caught the only trout, a brookie – 11 inches, 1 pounds.


Kevin Capponi – 13 inches, 1 pounds

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