By all accounts, this should be the year of the 50th annual Knox County Fish and Game Association’s winter derby.

But, if you recall, last winter was not kind to ice anglers, snowmobilers and others who enjoy cold temperatures and snow-covered ground. Last year’s winter derby had to be canceled due to unsafe ice conditions that existed on most local lakes and ponds. A warm spell and heavy rains created ice conditions that prompted derby officials to call off this popular annual event. Prizes were raffled off later that year.

This year’s derby — the 49th annual — will be held Sunday, Feb. 13 at the association’s headquarters at Beaver Lodge on the shores of Alford Lake.

Fish caught in legally open waters within a 50-mile radius of Alford Lake may be entered, if the angler has purchased a derby ticket in advance. Tickets allow individuals to enter fish as well as enter the raffle.

Tickets are available at Automaster in Spruce Head; Johnson’s Sporting Goods in Rockland; Mic-Mac Market in Union; Pushaw’s Trading Post in South Hope; Lincoln’s Country Store in Warren; and at Chuck Farmer’s Bait Shop in South Hope.

The official weigh-in will begin at noon, ending at 5 p.m. If fisherman is not in line by 5 p.m., the fish will not be entered.

There will be cash prizes — $100, $50 and $25 — for the three largest fish entered regardless of species. There also will be prizes awarded for adults and juniors in the following categories: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass; brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, pickerel, white perch and lake trout. Junior anglers must be at least four years old to take part in the derby.

Prock Marine in Rockland has donated an ice auger which will be the grand prize in the raffle, along with other items.

Anglers and organizers are hoping for favorable weather conditions for this popular event. At this point, with all the recent cold temperatures and plenty of snow, conditions should be good for the 49th annual event.

Ken Bailey, a Registered Maine Guide and VillageSoup’s Outdoor Editor, lives in Hope with his wife, Sandy.