Fish are biting at Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby
SINCLAIR, Maine — The fish began biting early as the 13th annual Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby kicked off on Saturday morning in the St. John Valley.
Bob Weyeneth of Fort Kent reported to the derby base at the Long Lake Sporting Club at 9:30 a.m. to register his 11 pound, 15.2 ounce togue, which measured in at 31.5 inches.
“I knew it was a big one,” Weyeneth, 51, said of reeling in the giant fish. Weyeneth caught the togue on Long Lake using lake smelt.
His was the largest in that category as of early Saturday afternoon, but with a day and a half of fishing left in the competition, there is plenty of time for Weyeneth’s fish to move down on the leaderboard.
Last year’s winning togue caught by Harold McKenna weighed in at 15 pounds, 4.4 ounces.
Anglers in the children’s category also got an early jump on the competition, as derby officials reported by noon that three youth had already registered salmon weighing in at over three pounds apiece.
Cameron Derosier of St. David celebrated his 13th birthday as he registered a 3 pound, 9.6 ounce landlocked salmon just before 10 a.m.
Derosier, fishing with his mother Tracy Morin, uncle Scott Morin and family friend Mike Michaud, headed over to the derby base with his catch, but not before alerting his grandparents of his success.
Margie and Butch Derosier were so excited for their grandson that they met up with him at the Sporting Club to watch him register the fish.
“He gave us a call and said he was coming. He came on sled and we came in a truck,” Margie Derosier said. “We feel very proud. He’s a very good kid.”
Derosier’s salmon remained at the top of the leaderboard in the youth 13 and under category as of 12:30 Saturday afternoon.
It is too early to tell how many anglers entered this year’s Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby, according to derby assistant chairman Chris Haskins. That information will only be available on Sunday afternoon as officials are still collecting information from the 27 registration stations located throughout Aroostook County.
The 12th annual inception of the derby brought in a record 1,043 registrants, but organizers prepared 1,200 registration forms this year due to heavy traffic on the group’s Facebook page.
“This year we had over 10,000 hits on Facebook in one week, compared to 2,000 last year,” Haskins said.
The derby purse is over $17,000 and registrants can fish on 10 water bodies; Long, Square, Cross, Eagle, St. Froid, Beau, Glazier and Portage Lakes, Carr Pond, and the St. John River.