June 26, 2019
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It’s time to celebrate the outdoors, even if you do it indoors

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Francesca Bardazzi (right) an international student from Florence, Italy, gives Chad Kirkpatrick a hand while drilling holes in the ice of Perch Pond in Old Town Wednesday morning. Bardazzi was among the international students from Orono High School who went out ice fishing with teachers to experience a Maine tradition.

Some years, by the time March rolls around, winter weather has abandoned us, snowbanks are shrinking and springtime is nearly palpable.

This year, not so much.

Thursday morning it was 20-below in some spots around the Pine Tree State, and I’ve yet to hear anybody talking about the traditional opening day of open-water fishing, which is just over three weeks away.

But we’re outdoorsy, so we don’t mind. Really. We don’t.

Or, in some cases, we simply look for indoor events to fill the outdoor void. Yes, there are still plenty of ice fishing derbies going on. And snowmobile trails are certainly looking great right now. But if you’re getting a little bit fed up with the cold weather, here are a couple options that are coming up soon.

Fishing weekend

I’ll tell you more about the 81st Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show next week. In the meantime, know this: Despite what you’ve come to expect, the show is NOT this weekend, one week after Brewer’s Cabin Fever Reliever Show. It’s set for March 15, 16 and 17. Two weeks separate the two events this year.

And while we understandably focus a lot of attention on that show, which is run by members of the Penobscot County Conservation Association, there’s another event taking place that weekend that you may want to visit.

In Freeport, L.L. Bean is staging its popular Spring Fishing Expo. It’ll run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on March 16 and 17.

Among the highlights: Free casting lessons, fly rod testing and the Maine 5-weight casting competition.

In addition, kids can learn to fly cast or tie flies, and a number of demos and seminars are on tap.

Guest speakers include striped bass expert Alberto Kine and custom fly tier Richard Strolis.

The company will also offer plenty of giveaways and raffles during the expo.

Ice, ice baby

On a recent trip to Perch Pond in Old Town, I watched as Orono High School teachers tested the limits of their ice augers while drilling through more than two feet of ice on an outing designed to expose international students to traditional Maine activities.

By the time the augers finally broke through and water gushed onto the ice, not much of the drill bit was still visible.

Had the ice been any thicker, the group would have needed some new equipment — like an auger extension.

Elsewhere in the state, ice anglers are facing the same problem.

One the Maine Ice Fishing Facebook page, one angler said that he’d tried to adapt his gear to the thick ice. He apparently wasn’t alone.

“Anyone know where I can find an extension for my Eskimo ice auger? Every place in Maine is sold out,” he wrote.

Good luck.

And here’s hoping we can celebrate ice-out sometime before June.

Cabin fever relieved

Hundreds of folks visited the Penobscot Fly Fishers’ Cabin Fever Reliever outdoor show in Brewer last weekend, and our BDN crew enjoyed talking to many of them.

If you took the time to stop by our booth, thanks for doing so. Spending time on the spring show circuit is one of our favorite things to do, and it allows us to hear what BDN readers think about a number of topics.

A couple of takeaways from this year’s show: First, Aislinn Sarnacki’s hiking videos and her two books about Maine hikes are still a hit, and generate plenty of conversation. Second, the BDN video of a recent bear den visit, featuring four yowling bear cubs, was a real traffic-stopper.

We shouldn’t have been surprised, but guess what? Everyone loves baby bears.

We’ll be back at the Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show in Orono on March 15, 16 and 17 and we’d love to see you at this region’s biggest outdoor expo.

And just to reiterate, for folks who have gotten into the habit of heading to the Orono show a week after the Cabin Fever Reliever: DON’T GO TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE THIS WEEKEND LOOKING FOR THE SHOW!

This year there’s a two-week gap between those first two shows of the season. Plan accordingly, and we’ll see you NEXT week.

John Holyoke can be reached at jholyoke@bangordailynews.com or 990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke.


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