The state is urging caution as the ice fishing derby season reaches its peak
Although there is plenty of safe ice in Maine, people need to be careful in some areas, especially in larger, deeper lakes, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said Monday.
Those planning to ice fish this coming weekend at nearly a dozen derbies across the state, including one on Maine’s largest lake, should avoid areas near Inlets, outlets, bridges and anywhere there is a current. People should check the ice thickness every few feet as well.
This tip comes as ice fishing derby season begins. There were a few derbies last weekend, including the Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby in Aroostook County, the largest derby in the state.
“We want people to get out and enjoy the outdoors, but we want them to be careful,” Latti said.
Rains in December and January raised water levels in lakes and ponds, making some bodies of water less safe than they normally are at this time of year, especially for ATVs, snowmobiles and other vehicles, Latti said.
Lakes and ponds with dams that control water levels will have more current, making it more difficult for good solid ice to form, he said.
Several derbies are scheduled for this weekend, including one on Moosehead Lake.
The 17th annual Moosehead Lake Togue Derby will be held Feb. 2-4 in Greenville by the Natural Resources Education Center. Ticket price is $25 for individuals and $40 for a family. The hunt begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday. There will be cash and merchandise prizes, and a drawing for a youth door prize. Bait shops stock up for derby. There will be additional weigh-in at Rockwood and Greenville. The contact is Sarah Lavin at 207-404-3663.
The Mount Vernon Fire Company will hold a hunting derby on Saturday, February 3 in Mount Vernon. Ponds and lakes include Flying, Long, Minnehonk, Echo Lake, and Torsey (Greeley Pond). Entry fee is $30. Contact is Chris Tibbetts, 207-458-5243. Weigh it at 7 Belgrade Road.
The Portage Lakers Snowmobile Club will hold a derby on Saturday, February 3rd on Lake Portage. The weigh-in is carried out at the Men’s Grooming Shed at 8 School Road. Contact is Susan Rogers at 207-776-0061
The Pushaw Lake Snowmobile Club will hold a derby on Saturday and Sunday, February 3 and 4 on Pushaw Lake and Pushaw Pond (Hudson). The weight is performed in the club. Contact is Bruce Caswell at 207-745-2677.
The Hillside Athletic Club will hold a derby on Saturday, February 3rd at Long Pond in Livermore. Registration is $10. The weigh-in will be held at 736 Federal Way. The contact is Robert Jack at 207-645-9932.
The Sheepscot Lake Fish and Game Association will hold a statewide ice fishing derby on Saturday, February 3. Fish from any body in Maine waters that can be legally caught are eligible. Derby tickets are $1 or six for $5. Children’s Grand Prize. The weigh-in will be held at the clubhouse located at 1579 Route 3, Sheepscot Lake Boat Landing. The contact is Rodney Glidden at 207-485-0190.
The City of Houlton will be holding an ice fishing derby on Saturday and Sunday, February 3 and 4, at Mill Pond, Droz Lake (Medoxneckig) and Nickerson Lake in the towns of Hodgdon, New Limerick, Linnaeus and Uckfield. The weigh-in will be held at Siders Variety and Redemption, 53 Calais Road, Hodgdon. The contact is Nancy Keach at 207-521-5938.
The Auckland Recreation Department will hold a kids-only ice fishing derby on Sunday, February 4 at Messalonskee, Salmon, McGrath, North, East and Long Lakes in Auckland, Sydney and Belgrade. The weigh-in will be held at Atwood Primary School, on Heath Street in Auckland. Contact is Eric Seekins at 207-465-7357. The weather date is Sunday, February 11.
The American Legion Post 55 will hold an ice fishing derby on Sunday, February 4 at Holland Pond (Sokokis Lake) in Limerick. Weighing is done at the boat launch on Route 11. Contact is Michael Ward at 207-608-5837. The weather date is Sunday, February 11.
The 2024 Pennesseewassee Ice Fishing Derby will take place on Sunday, February 4th on Lake Pennesseewassee in Norway. Adults $15. Youth $10. Weighing is done when the boat is launched. The contact is Brynn Bean at 207-890-4724.