WILTON — The Wilton Fish & Game Third Annual Michael J. Rowe Memorial Ice Fishing Derby is set for Saturday, Feb. 18, on Wilson Lake. Ice anglers can try their luck from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Club members planned the derby for a free family fishing day sponsored by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Anyone can fish on that day without a license.

New this year, the Derby Committee has planned a special prize for the heaviest overall fish. The grand-prize winner will take home a 10-inch Eskimo Ice Auger donated by Max-Traps, committee member Sharon Borthwick said.

Another enticing prize is a $1,000 tagged fish. This is the first year the club has tried this, she said. The state tags the fish and lets it go in the lake. If a person catches it, they win $1,000, she said.

“The money will only be awarded to the registered angler if the fish is caught between the hours of 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the day of the derby,” she said. “A ticket is required.”

Other prizes in the adult class include an Eskimo Pop Up Tent for first place; a large jet sled for second and a 24-inch Loring Pack Basket for third.

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“Heaviest fish overall in the youth category will receive a commemorative box of Max-Traps donated by Max-Traps in memory of Michael J. Rowe who was killed in a tragic woods accident,” Borthwick said.

Other prizes include $25, one Max-Trap, a Bucket Buddy, a skimmer and two movie tickets donated by Narrow Gauge Cinemas. Tickets are required.

Club members will give ice-fishing lessons from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. No experience is required and bait and equipment is provided.

Snowshoe races on the lake will take place at 1 p.m., weather permitting. The club has snowshoes for those who need a pair to compete. Three classes, adult, youth (12-17) and under 12, are being held and each class winner will receive cash prizes. 

The club has 50 grab bags ready for the first 50 registered youths who come to the shack on derby day, she said. Youths must be present with a ticket and these are available from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., she said.

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine will donate a free youth lifetime fishing license to one lucky winner. The license is about $300 in value and goes to a youth age 15 or under. Prizes will be drawn at the end of the weigh-in at 4 p.m. by the boat launch, Borthwick said.

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The registration fee to fish in the derby is $5. Tickets are available at Shelly’s Hometown Market in East Wilton, Wilton Hardware on Main Street in Wilton, Robin’s Bait Shop in Jay, BackWoods Bait Shop in Chesterville and Spruce Mountain Bait and Tackle in Jay.

People can also register from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the derby. The ending hour for registrations was changed to allow time to finalize the day’s events, she said.

Club members will sealso hold a sale of fresh French fries, Dunkin Donut coffee and hot chocolate near the boat launch throughout the day.

The derby is held with support from a number of organizations and businesses through their sponsorship and the club is appreciative of their generosity, she said.

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What: Michael J. Rowe Memorial Ice Fishing Derby

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When: 6 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18

Where: Wilson Lake, Wilton

Registration: $5

Tickets: Shelly’s Hometown Market in East Wilton, Wilton Hardware on Main Street in Wilton, Robin’s Bait Shop in Jay, BackWoods Bait Shop in Chesterville and Spruce Mountain Bait and Tackle in Jay.

People can also register from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the derby.

Charlie Lord of the Wilton Fish & Game Association shows Mary Hamblin of Jay how to catch a fish through the ice at tge association derby in 2016.

Members of the Wilton Fish & Game Association Derby Committee pose at the 2016 derby. From left, front row, are Jaci Maxham, Sharon Borthwick, Deb Rowe and Arnold Borthwick; back row, Chairman Alan Hart, association President Phil Maurais, Jim Morrell, Greg Roy, Warren Bryant and Jeff Rowe.

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