HARRISON — Chandler Lowe, 7, of Harrison received a lifetime fishing license from the state as winner of the 2010 Harrison Winter Fest ice fishing derby.

Recreation Director Paula Holt said Monday that organizers were surprised when Emily Jones of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife came to Harrison and presented them with a lifetime fishing license to be given to the winner of the derby. Jones is with the department’s Hooked on Fishing Not On Drugs program.

Jones also sanctioned the Feb. 21-22 event so adults could help their children or a handicapped individual in a designated area on the lake without having to purchase a Maine fishing license. Children were taught by instructors how to bait their lines and fish in the predrilled fishing holes on the ice. Others with licenses fished in the open water on the lake.

“We didn’t know until that day. We were thrilled,” Holt said of the department’s offerings. “The whole thing surprised us.”

Holt said she believes the department provided the lifetime license to support the derby, which was geared toward children.

“We’re trying to get more children involved in ice fishing,” Holt said.

“I think that will be our niche,” she said of future fishing derbies.

Derby Coordinator and Registered Maine Guide Joe Jack and Holt, who also was the Harrison Winter Fest coordinator, said the derby was successful beyond their wildest imagination.

Jack said he, Holt, Durwood Worster, Debbie Sylvester and Peter Jack made sure every registered child had a fair chance at the grand prize and 41 other prizes.

Chandler, son of Jim and Kristie Lowe, successfully defended his 2009 first-place finish in the 10 years old and under category. He came in with a three-quarter pound Splake, a 3.5-pound pickerel and a half-pound perch.

Every child who registered received a bait bucket from Naples Bait and Tackle, bait donated by the Market Basket convenience store in Harrison and Bill Robblee, gift bag donated by Cabela’s, and ice fishing traps donated by Unc’L Lunkers Bait and Tackle in Bridgton.

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