The weather was cold and the fishing was a bit slow, but that didn’t stop a record number of entrants from enjoying themselves during the 16th annual Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby, which was staged on 10 northern Maine waters over the weekend. And those anglers emerged with plenty of cool fish stories to tell.
One such tale: Derby chairman Paul Bernier said the second-place togue, a 10-pound, 4-ounce fish caught by Harold Cyr at Beau Lake, showed some signs of wear and tear.
“There were toothmarks all around the back side of that togue,” Bernier said. “That togue must have been hooked and at the same time a muskie must have been on him. It had to be a big, big muskie [to have tried to eat a fish that was 30 inches long].”
Another oddity: 9-year-old Drew Belanger swept the youth togue competition, catching the first-, second-, and third-largest fish.
“It went very, very well. We had 1,806 [entrants]. It was just nuts. Crazy,” said derby chairman Paul Bernier. “[We offer] these big raffle prizes — we’re not stupid — we know there are a lot of people who register just to get the chance to buy raffle chances, and they probably don’t fish.”
Whether they fish or not, the sale of derby entries topped last year’s record of 1,643, despite an ongoing pandemic and some very cold weather.
“Saturday was pretty brutal — windy, cold,” Bernier said. “With the windchill it had to be a good 15 below on Saturday. Sunday morning, on my way to the weigh station at 5 in the morning we hit 11 below in one area, but there was no wind. And when the sun came up, it was beautiful.”
Bernier said that the scene from the Long Lake Sporting Club on Saturday morning was pretty spectacular, with anglers spread out as far as the eye could see.
“Long Lake was just peppered Saturday,” he said. “It was unreal.”
Dylan Levesque took top honors in the landlocked salmon category, hauling in a fish that weighed 6 pounds, 5.4 ounces. Pete Daigle caught the largest brook trout (3 pounds, 6.2 ounces) and Timmy Daley caught the largest togue, at 18 pounds, 9.6 ounces. Andrew Cyr won the muskie class with a 17-pound, 9-ounce fish.
And as for those big ticket raffle items that Bernier said draws many to enter the event: Tom Rouse won a 2020 Ski-Doo Expedition 900 snowmobile, and Trevor Dionne won a Sport Shack ice fishing shack.
Adult (14-and-older): Salmon: 1. Dylan Levesque 6 pounds, 5.4 ounces, 2. Jeffrey Rouse 6 pounds, 5 ounces, 3. Justin Preston 5 pounds, 14.4 ounces; brook trout: 1. Pete Daigle 3 pounds, 6.2 ounces, 2. Bert Pelletier, 3 pounds, 0.4 ounces, 3. Chad Albert, 2 pounds, 10.4 ounces; togue: 1. Timmy Daley, 18 pounds, 9.6 ounces, 2. Harold Cyr, 10 pounds, 4 ounces, 3. Ken Mayo 7 pounds, 10.2 ounces; muskie: 1. Andrew Cyr 17 pounds, 9 ounces, 2. Judd Taggett 17 pounds, 4 ounces, 3. Bruce Bernier 15 pounds, 3 ounces; cusk: 1. Mike Thibodeau 12 pounds, 2.4 ounces, 2. Wayne Raymond 9 pounds, 15 ounces, 3. Mike Thibodeau 9 pounds, 8.6 ounces; most perch: 1. Caleb Caron 404, 2. Lucas Wardwell 210, 3. Issaic King 171; largest perch: 1. Shane Lagasse 1 pound, 4.6 ounces, 2. Brandon Black 1 pound, 4.4 ounces, 3. Evan Trajano 1 pound, 3.8 ounces;
Youth (age 13-and-under): Salmon: 1. Christopher Babin 5 pounds, 12.8 ounces, 2. Eli Jandreau 3 pounds, 11.4 ounces, 3. Malcom Gilliand 3 pounds, 10.6 ounces; brook trout: 1. Quintin Pelletier 1 pound, 8.4 ounces, 2. Abigail Thibeault 1 pound, 5 ounces, 3. Parker Boisvert 1 pound, 4.4 ounces; togue: 1. Drew Belanger 4 pounds, 5.6 ounces, 2. Drew Belanger 4 pounds, 3.4 ounces, 3. Drew Belanger 3 pounds, 10.2 ounces.