Ringing in new year ice fishing on Swan Lake
Belfast — Neither sub-zero temperatures nor deep snow can keep Sam Mehorter from his appointed rounds tending ice-fishing traps/tip-ups on Swan Lake on New Year's Day. Because, of course, that is tradition.
For most, each new year is a time for resolutions made and goals accomplished. However, for Mehorter of Belfast and his friends and family, there is only one resolution for the first day of a new year — namely, head onto Swan Lake, drill holes through the ice and catch fish.
Every year, Mehorter, who has a camp on the lake, heads onto the ice with many or a few friends and/or family members to try his luck fishing. Ultimately, the day is about spending time in the great outdoors, no matter the weather or conditions. However, catching fish always is a nice bonus.
This year, the group faced temperatures from 10-below zero to 13 above. When the sun shone, it was a beautiful, crisp day on the lake. An idyllic Maine winter day.
Mehorter made his annual trek onto Swan Lake on Wednesday, Jan. 1, New Year's Day. He hit the ice with friend Mark Hansen, while others also joined the fun during the day.
Sometimes, Mehorter and Hansen bring their wives, Karen and Kimberly, but not this year.
While many people showed up during the day, among the diehards were Mehorter, Hansen, Dan Jones, Gary Lavalee, Matt Weaver and Bill McCullough, all Waldo County residents.
Hansen is an avid fisherman and boater who works at Hamlin Marine.
During the day, there were plenty of snowmobilers on the ice, which was 20-plus inches thick.
Karen Mehorter said Swan Lake is where the family camp is located, a camp the Mehorters go to on weekends in the summer. Time at camp in the warmer months also is juggled with the boat the Mehorters stay on in Penobscot Bay.
The Mehorters, who have been married 23 years, have operated a real estate and property management business — Hometown Real Estate — since about 1990. Karen originally is from Belfast and Sam has lived in Maine most of his life, but grew up in New Jersey.
And each New Year's Day, Sam — and sometimes Karen, but always with a few friends — hit the lake for a good old-fashioned day of Maine ice fishing.
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Ken Waltz has been member of the media 30 years and has received hundreds of Maine Press Association and New England Press Association awards for his writing, photography and page design. He studied journalism at the University of Maine in Orono. He lives in South Thomaston with his wife, Sarah. The couple has an adult son, Brandon.
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