Media Archive

Hosting Maine's largest ice fishing derby requires team effort, enthusiasm

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 164, No. 7, February 13, 2002

By Sarah MacIlroy
Staff Writer

MILO The 40th Annual Schoodic Lake Ice Fishing Derby promises to be bigger and better than ever if not in participation then definitely in prizes.

Last year over 2,000 people participated in the Schoodic Lake Ice Fishing Derby and this year could draw even more since the grand prize winner will have a choice between a 2002 Z-370 Arctic Cat Snowsled or a 2002 Arctic Cat 250 2x4 ATV, purchased from Cat Trax in LaGrange. Free maintenance service for the recreational vehicles has also been donated.

"It's their choice which is really different," explained Recreation Director Murrell Harris. "We've never done that before."

Fishermen and women will have their choice of trying for the big catch at Ebeemee and Sebois lakes, as well as, Schoodic Lake during Maine's longest running and largest fishing derby on Feb. 26 and 17.

"Last year, the warden service estimated that there were over 2,000 people on all three lakes on Sunday," he said. "A lot of people from away come in and open up their camps for the derby."

A multitude of other prizes will be offered during the weekend, all donated by local merchants.

"There's over 12,000 prizes," Harris said.

Almost every merchant in Milo has supported the project in some way and many are displaying derby prizes.

He said those wishing to try their luck on the lakes must have the book of tickets to participate and show white tickets to register fish. Check-in points, where participants will weigh their fisth, will be at the Lake View Fire Station and at Knight's Landing in Brownville. Tickets can be purchased at check-in points during the derby or before hand at participating businesses.

Milo Fire Department has sponsore the even for the past 30 years, and all proceeds will benefit local charities and events.

"We want to make sure people know that all the proceeds made from the derby go right back into local charities," he said. "One of the things we try to do is keep everything inour area as much as possible."

Also during the weekend, Boy Scout Troop 115 will be collecting returnable containers to raise money. The troop will be doing can collections at the two weigh stations all weekend and a camp collection on Sunday.

"So save all your cans for a good cause," Harris said.

Those who would like their bottles picked up beforehand can call Scout leaders Gary Cook or Chad Perkins.

The ice fishing action begins at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 16 for Cusk only, and no fish can be registered after 5:30 p.m. on either day. All fish must be caught in Schoodic, Ebeemee or Sebois lakes during derby time limits. No cusk under 16 inches are registered for the derby.

First, second and third prizes will be awarded for biggest salmon, togue and trout. Firs and second honors will be awarded for the biggest cusk, white perch, pickerel and bass.

Boys or girls under age 16 can enter their catch in the largest fish competition. The prize will be a $100 savings bond. Even land lubbers can participate with the shore prize tickets. Total prizes for the event are $12,000.

Even though participation usually runs high, Harris said the state's offer of license-free fishing days and the good weather they have had for the past few years help. That weekend, fishing will be open to anyone regardless of whether they have a license. That weekend is also the start of February vacation a good excuse to bring the whole family.

"It's like cabin fever weekend," Harris said. "But we want to stress to everyone to have a safe, fun family weekend and use common sense on the ice and be careful."

On Feb. 17 at at 6:30 p.m. those who don't want to brave the cold can still have an update on the derby results by visiting Listeners can also tune radios in to WDME FM 103.1 for the live coverage of the snowsled/ATV drawing.

For more information on the event, contact Murrell Harris at 943-7326.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.