PARIS — The Norway-Paris Fish & Game Association will celebrate 49 years of its annual Ice Fishing Derby on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Lake Pennessewassee in Norway.

The Derby was started in 1970 for members and their families to have fun outdoors ice fishing. It has grown from just members to opened state wide. Back then, the money raised was used to send kids to the Conservation Camp in Bryant Pond (now know as the 4-H Bryant Pond Camp).

The first few years, they would haul a little building down to Norway Lake and sell food to anybody who wanted to stop by. As the Derby got bigger, they started using the little red schoolhouse at Norway Lake. It had tables and chairs, and people would come to have their fish weighed, check out the size of fish already weighed, and have a burger, chill or chowder. They’d tell fish stories to other fishermen, and maybe have some dessert before going back to fishing. These fishing people would be fathers, mothers, daughters and sons.

When it was time to announce the winners with the biggest fish, the schoolhouse would be packed – it would be standing room only. After that came the raffle; people would patiently wait to see if they were going to win one of the items. After the last item was awarded, it would be time for auctioning off the leftover desserts. It was fun to see who was going to outbid whom.

The fish categories are: 1) Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, 2) Northern Pike, 3) Landlocked Salmon, 4) Lake Trout / Brown Trout / Togue, and 5) BrookTrout / Rainbow Trout / Splake.

One of the new features for this year’s Derby is the prize money: $100 for first place, $50 for second place, and $25 for third place. Also, this year the location of the fish weigh-in will be the Norway-Paris Fish and Game clubhouse at 744 Buckfield Rd. in South Paris.

The ticket price is $5; those 15 years and younger are admitted free, and will receive a trophy. The name of each kid who turns in a fish will be entered in a drawing for a big ice fishing trap, donated by Max Traps.

Tickets can be purchased at the following businesses: Doe’s Inc, J & K Sporting Goods, Woodman’s Sporting, Dag’s Bait and Tackle, Rob’s Bait and Tackle, Fine Line Gun, and Tilton’s Market.

The raffle is open for people who don’t want to fish. The Derby has received donations from the following business: J & K Sporting Goods, Rusty Brackett’s Computer Service, Dag’s Bait & Tackle, L.L. Cote, Uncle Lunkers, Tilton’s Market, Woodman’s Sporting Goods, Doe’s Inc., Oxford Plains Speedway, Aziscoos Valley Campground, PA’s Trading Post, Deb Schilling, Alan Paradis, and Mechanic Falls NAPA. Donations will be coming in right up until the day of the derby. Stop by and check out the items.

The proceeds go to programs like the Youth Field Day in June and the rifle/trap/archery range. The club also sends a couple of kids to the Bryant Pond 4-H Camp and Learning Center, and gives scholarships for kids with have ties to the club.

We have purchased more land and hope to put on an ATV/Snowmobile Safety Program and a 3-D archery range. The club is expanding and would like to invite the public to come and check out our wonderful facility.

Norway-Paris Fish & Game invites the snowmobile clubs to ride in and have breakfast starting at 5:30 a.m. until 11 a.m., and then lunch with hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chowder, chill and homemade desserts.

Come and see how much fun the club has. For information, call Alan Paradis at 364-6509 or Cindy Ouellette at 485-6347.