If playing in the cold is your thing, read on

Posted Dec. 08, 2010, at 6:08 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:26 p.m.

As some sage Mainer would have said, our three months of summer are clearly behind us, leaving us to the nine months of rough sledding that some dread. Since you’re reading this, however, I’ll assume that you’re one of those hardy Mainers who doesn’t let a little cold weather get in the way of your outdoor enjoyment.

In fact, you might identify with a certain 7-year-old I know pretty well, who asked this great question on the way to school the other day: “Why do they plow all the snow away before we get a chance to play in it?”

Good question.

And if that question sums up your own personal winter philosophy, read on as I share a few pieces of winter-related news that have recently crossed my desk.

Allagash reservations to open

Each year, dozens of avid ice anglers flock to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and spend countless hours targeting the fish at Chamberlain Lake.

If you’re one of those — or you’d like to be — the Maine Department of Conservation has an announcement for you.

The waterway is again providing winter campgrounds at Chamberlain Bridge and Kellogg Brook, and registration for spots in those two locations will take place on Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. Reservations will be taken at the Chamberlain Bridge ranger station.

In a press release, waterway superintendent Matthew LaRoche said that a year ago, most of the available sites were allotted on the first day of registration.

In all, 48 campsites are available. A total of 44 were rented out last winter. LaRoche said that most sites were reserved for the full three-month ice-fishing season.

Campsite fees are $50 per month, plus a 7 percent food and lodging tax. Eight sites are reserved in the parking lot for transient use. Those sites are available for $4 per person per night for Maine residents and $8 per person per night for nonresidents.

For more information, call 695-3721, ext. 4, or 941-4014.

Save the date for Long Lake derby

For the past five years, ice anglers have flocked to the lakes of the Fish River chain hoping to catch a prize-worthy fish.

Paul Bernier, who helps organize the Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby, checked in this week to update progress of the 6th annual event, to be held in 2011.

The derby, which is co-sponsored by the town of St. Agatha and the Black Bear Rod & Gun Club, will take place on Jan. 29-30, and the cash purse will be $10,000.

Bernier said that vendors are enthusiastic and he expects to have plenty of top-notch door prizes up for grabs as well.

“The major beneficiary once again will be the Edgar J. Paradis Cancer Fund and if things go as well as expected, we should exceed the $20,000 mark for donations to this cause since we began the derby six years ago,” Bernier wrote in an e-mail.

Fishing will take place on Long, Cross, St. Froid, Square, Eagle, Glazier and Beau Lakes, and the largest landlocked salmon and togue will earn the lucky anglers $1,500. All fish, save muskellunge, will be weighed at the Long Lake Sporting Club. Muskies will be weighed at Joe’s Country Store in St. Francis.

Those age 14 and older will pay a $15 daily or $25 weekend registration. Those 13 and younger will pay $5 per day.

For more information, call Bernier at 493-3318, 543-6332 or 227-5252, or e-mail paul@aroostook.me.us. Online registration is at www.stagatha.com/events.asp.

DIF&W to begin deer survey

For years, a few critics of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have called for an accurate accounting of various animal species, including deer.

Counting wild animals, of course, is difficult — and costly.

Thanks to funds raised through the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and the Pittman-Robertson Fund, the DIF&W has announced that it will embark upon an aerial deer survey that will take place this month and stretch into January.

The DIF&W will use helicopters to survey southern and central Wildlife Management Districts.

According to a DIF&W press release, the helicopters will fly about 200 feet above the ground. The survey flights were scheduled to begin Wednesday in southern Somerset County and western Penobscot County.

According to the DIF&W, the surveys will provide the department with estimates of deer abundance and will be useful in managing the deer herd.

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