Saranac Laker Launches Fishing Contest at Ice Palace | News, sports, jobs

Saranac Laker Launches Fishing Contest at Ice Palace |  News, sports, jobs


Matt Buffondi holds one of the checks he will give away to the people with the largest pike caught for the Ice Palace this weekend. (Corporation photo – Aaron Marboni)

SARANAC LAKE — This weekend, people of all ages will have a chance to catch a spearfish that will be displayed above the Ice Palace in a new ice fishing contest organized by Matt Pavondi, who supplied his spears to the Ice Palace for years when he was in middle and high school here.

Bafundi said catching spear for the palace was a source of great pride for him. Now, he wants to pass on the honor, opening up the opportunity to display a fish at the palace to the local public.

“I know what it was like as a kid to have my fish at the Ice Palace and I wanted this to be something great for the community.” said Pavondi, who now owns the Predator Scrap Metal and Waste Removal Team on Broadway.

On Monday, he went down to the Ice Palace and received an enthusiastic blessing from the builders of the Winter Carnival and Ice Palace.

Participation in the competition is free and has no age limit. Bafundi said he only accepts contest fish from students or graduates of the Saranac Lake Central School District, because he wants to keep it local.

The first place prize gets a check for $500 and their fish in the Ice Palace. Second place gets $250 and their fish in the spot. The third place prize gets $100.

The competition begins at daylight on Saturday and ends on Sunday at 4pm and fishing can be done anywhere there are pike.

Pafundi will be on site at the Ice Palace on both days with his weighbridge weighing competitors from 9am to 5pm on Saturday, and from 8am to 4pm on Sunday.

The prize money will be paid out after the last fish is weighed.

“Let’s keep it clean and honest.” Pafundi said.

After moving here from Long Island with his mother and stepfather, she grew up in Saranac Lake, he said “challenge.” But he embraced mountain life easily.

“We basically had nothing, but I surrounded myself with the best people I could.” He said.

Catching the Ice Palace Spear was something dear to his heart.

“I remember people standing in front of my fish, taking pictures and smiling in the glow of the palace.” Pafundi said. “I think it would be great if someone else felt proud to have their fish in this ice palace.

“It is important that we keep our old school traditions alive and work hard as a community – loving and understanding each other.” he added.

The tradition of placing a fish in an ice block at the palace began years ago after IPW volunteers found a dead fish frozen from the belly up at the bottom of an ice block. For years, people have been donating fish to the palace. Then, in the 1990s, Tim Moody asked a young man from Bafundi to go fishing. He did that for years until he graduated in 2002 and got a job in Albany.

Pafundi returned to Saranac Lake about four years ago. Fish donations to the palace had been less consistent and the coronavirus pandemic was changing things.

Last year, Pafundi was able to relive his childhood excitement when he saw the palace rise, racing out into the lake to catch two large pike and offering his harvest to Ice Palace Workers 101. That excitement is something he feels others must change. to have.

If anyone has questions about the contest, they can contact Pafundi at 518-524-0729.

If people don’t have shiners for bait, catching perch also works, he said.



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