We want to hear about your ice fishing derby experience this year

By John Holyoke, Bangor Daily News Outdoors Editor

It’s that time of year again: Lakes are freezing up (finally, we hope), anglers are gathering up their gear, and before long, the sound of power augers will be piercing the silence on our favorite lakes and ponds.

Yes, ice fishing derby season is nearly upon us. Sort of. In some places. In fact, this weekend tournament anglers will descend (carefully) onto Moosehead Lake for one such event, and on 10 different Aroostook County waters for another.

Yes, I’m all about the parentheticals and the disclaimers right now. Fact is, many of our lakes aren’t safe. I just received a message from a pal who lives on one of my favorite lakes, and he said Green Lake in Dedham and Ellsworth still has open water in the middle.

But derby season is coming. Really, it’s coming. And all it’ll take is a week or so of good Maine weather to button most of our lakes up for the winter.

Which brings us to the real order of business for today: Are you having an ice fishing tournament? Do you know of a civic organization that is? Great!

Now get on the horn to those organizers and give them our contact information, which you can find at the bottom of this column. Don’t call and ask if I’ve received any information from X Derby or Y Tournament.

I’ll save you the trouble: I haven’t heard a peep. From anyone. Anywhere.

Not since last winter, anyway.

Now, it’s entirely possible that some derbies won’t be staged this year due to COVID concerns. It’s also possible that folks are waiting for honest-to-goodness winter weather to arrive before they start publicizing their events.

Whatever the case, rest assured that we want to hear about your derby so that we can share that info with other readers who are looking for a way to have some fun (and support your organization) after nine months of pandemic-induced isolation.

But that’s not all we’re looking for. We also want you to pass along the results of your derby after it’s completed, so everyone who won a prize can bask in the afterglow and claim their hard-earned bragging rights. Photos, of course, are also important. Our readers love big fish photos, and sharing a few with us will make next year’s derby even more popular.

Of course, not every ice angler participates in derbies. If you’re one of those who’d rather just stay on your home lake and spend time with your relatives and a couple of (socially distant) friends, that’s understandable.

That doesn’t mean, however, that we’re not interested in your big fish photos. You don’t have to win an ice fishing contest for us to be interested in sharing your photos with our readers. Send ’em in, with some description (remember the who, what and where), and maybe we’ll include some in upcoming stories.

I look forward to hearing from you. Have fun out there, and be safe.

Holyoke can be reached at [email protected] or 207-990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke. His first book, “Evergreens,” a collection of his favorite BDN columns and features, is published by Islandport Press and is available wherever books are sold.

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