WILTON — The Wilton Fish & Game Association’s sixth annual Michael J. Rowe Memorial Ice Fishing Derby on Wilson Lake is quickly approaching. The event will be held Saturday, Feb. 15. The event coincides with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Free Fishing Weekend. This means that any person (except those whose license has been suspended or revoked) may fish without a fishing license. Everyone can come enjoy the fun.
Even people who have never gone ice fishing are encouraged to attend. A free ice-fishing clinic for all ages will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All bait and equipment will be provided.
New this year, hot breakfast sandwiches will be available beginning at 5 a.m. Registration opens at 6 a.m. and continues to 2 p.m. The cost is $5 the day of the event at the Wilson Lake boat launch area. Tickets are also available in advance at Shelly’s Hometown Market, Backwoods Bait and Tackle in Chesterville, Wilton Hardware in Wilton, and Robin’s Bait Shop in Jay.
The first 50 youth to come to the registration shack with a ticket on the day of the event will get a free grab bag full of valuable items.
Many door prizes will be given away at the event, including a 10-inch Eskimo (gas) auger. All youth registrations (15 and under) will be included in a drawing for a lifetime fishing license donated by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. Other prizes include fishing and outdoor gear, and gift certificates from area businesses. There will also be a 50/50 drawing.
Adult fishing prizes, will be awarded in three categories: Brook Trout, Togue and Salmon. First place is an Eskimo Quickfish 3i shelter. Second place is an XL jet sled with hitch and cover. Third place is a two-person tree stand.
Youth prizes include a boxed set of Max-traps for the heaviest fish. Other categories will get a Loring pack basket, with a 25-inch Max-trap and bait pail. There will be a special prize for smallest fish (no bait fish).
All prizes will be announced and awarded beginning at 4:15 p.m., but the weigh-in for fish ends at 4 p.m.
In addition to the breakfast sandwiches, food concessions will include fresh cut French fries, grilled hot dogs and bottled water. Souvenir hats will be available for sale.
Sponsors include Wood-Mizer LLC, Ross & Maureen Clair, Chesterville, and Dunkin Donuts, which provides hot coffee and cocoa for the event.
The annual Michael J. Rowe Memorial Ice Fishing Derby is held in memory of Michael J. Rowe, who was killed in a tragic woods accident. For more information, phone Jaci Maxham at 207-491-0780.
Alan Hart, right, shows Connor Metcalf, 6, of Phillips, how to set an ice fishing trap as Connor’s mother, Shannon Metcalf looks on.