The Long Lake ice fishing derby still goes on today | News, sports, jobs
LONG LAKE – The Long Lake Kid & Adult Ice Fishing Derby is a great affair today, despite the warm winter wreaking havoc on the ice across the North Country.
Long Lake Bay and Eaton Lake have between 10 and 12 inches of ice, more than enough to support a small local tournament of 30 to 40 anglers, said Long Lake Fish and Game Club President Bruce Jennings. The derby was split between kids and adults, with the adults fishing in February and the kids taking to the ice in March. Now the tournament has been consolidated, as recent years have left March ice unsuitable.
“Even now we get a little nervous from time to time.” Jennings said.
But thanks to the recent bout of cold weather, the ice looks to be in good shape.
Last year, Marty Pierce caught the winning fish during the Long Lake Kid & Adult Ice Fishing Derby, which measured 13.63 pounds and 39 inches. The event attracted 15 juvenile and 34 adult participants, and a total of 23 fish were weighed in the competition.
The kids brought in a total of 11 northern pike, while the adults weighed a total of 12 fish. Lake Eaton produced five landlocked salmon and two rainbow trout. Pike totaled five entries. No lake trout were caught in Lake Eaton in 2023.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation lists 3 to 4 inches of solid ice as a general guideline for safety while traveling on foot. Ice is acceptable for snowmobiles and ATVs 5 inches, a small car or pickup 8 to 12 inches and a medium truck more than 12 inches.
The tournament takes place just one week after one of the state’s biggest derbies, the Tupper Lake Sportsmen’s Club Northern Challenge, was canceled due to unsafe ice at Simon Pond. Last weekend, the snow was between 3.5 and 6 inches. This led to the ice being canceled out for the first time in decades.
For a small tournament like the Long Lake tournament, it may be possible to control this thickness. But for the Northern Challenge, which often attracts more than 1,000 anglers, many with snowmobiles and ATVs, at least 12 inches of ice is needed.
In Lake Placid, the long-awaited CAN/AM Pond Hockey Championship, which was expected to be held on Mirror Lake, was moved to the state’s Olympic speed skating rink this weekend. In the lead-up to the tournament, many locals speculated about whether the ice would be thick enough to play pond hockey, especially since the weekend brought more sun and daytime temperatures nearing 50 degrees.
Although there was a lot of water in Mirror Lake as a result of the ice melting Friday morning, the pond hockey players started out in the lake but moved to the oval in the afternoon. According to Olympic Center General Manager Chad Cassidy, CAN/AM officials decided to move because of the condition of the ice, not its thickness.
On Wednesday, North Elba Park District Superintendent Matt St. Louis reported that Mirror Lake had about 9 inches of good ice and his crew was waiting for 12 inches to open the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute on Parkside Drive, with the goal set for Presidents Day weekend . The hugely popular sport of dog sledding at Mirror Lake is in full swing, with the action visible on Thursdays and Fridays from Brewster Park.
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