NORWAY — This hasn’t been the best winter for ice fishing in Maine, but that didn’t stop dedicated anglers from heading out onto the lakes for Norway’s 46th annual Ice Fishing Derby. 

Sylvia Bosse, president of the Norway-Paris Fish and Game Association, was very happy with the turnout for the derby. It was touch and go this year as to whether there would be enough cold weather to sustain ice fishing, she said. 

Thankfully, it’s been cold enough recently to keep the ice-fishing derby going, she said. 

Bosse said the derby is a big local draw.

“It goes (from) sunrise to sunset for two days,” Bosse said, “and you can fish at any of the of the lakes and ponds,” which draws a lot of people.

The only rules of the derby are that you have to bring the fish to the Little Red Schoolhouse to be weighed, and the fish has to be deceased at the time of weighing. The weigh-in building is located on Norway Lake. 

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The derby is open to anyone who wants to participate.

“We have a lot of local business and people who don’t fish that like to support the club,” she said. They can purchase raffle tickets, food and apparel. 

Prizes for the derby are $50 for the biggest fish in eight different categories. For junior members, age 12 and under, the prize is a trophy. 

The derby will host its first Family Fun Day on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Jeff Witham from Jeff’s Bait and Tackle will supervise kids as they fish, and the UMaine 4-H club will help participants learn survival skills. 

“We were going to have snowshoeing, too, but that won’t be happening,” Bosse joked, referring to the lack of snow. 

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There had been 21 fish weighed in by 1 p.m. Saturday, which Bosse said is a pretty good number.

“We’re really lucky to at least have good weather this year,” she said. 

When asked if there’s an average or standard fish size that usually wins, she said it’s different every year.

“You never know,” she said. “Some years, it’ll be a lot of small fish. Or you’ll have the only fish in that category.” 

Proceeds from the derby are used to send junior members to the UMaine 4-H summer camp.

“Last year, we sent eight kids,” Bosse said. 

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Samantha Paradis, a 14-year-old junior member, was out ice fishing Saturday with a family friend. 

“I just started a couple year ago, but I really enjoy it,” she said. She said she was happy that the ice held for the derby.

“The ice has been on and off, and people are saying it’s been not good some places,” she said.  

When asked whether it’s standard to fish near the center of the lake or closer to the edge, Paradis said it’s really just up to personal preference. 

“It really depends on what they want,” she said.

Although she hadn’t caught any fish yet on Saturday afternoon, Paradis was still enjoying the derby and hopeful for a catch. 

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Upcoming local fishing derbies

Kezar Lake, Lovell, March 5 and 6: Total cash prize amount: $1,000. Weigh-in location: Buddy Carrier’s.

Webb Lake, Weld, March 6: Cash prize: $60. Weigh-in location: Head of the lake area. 

For a full list of fishing derbies in Maine, visit the maine.gov website. 


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