Lake St. George fishing derby 'takes it outside'

By Fran Gonzalez | Jan 31, 2019
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Maxmilian Johnston, 4, of Liberty waits patiently for any sign of a nibble Jan. 26, at the Lake St. George fishing derby.

Liberty — A whole lot of fishing took place on Lake St. George last Saturday, Jan. 26, at the annual Take It Outside! Winter Family Fun Days and fishing derby.

Park Manager Sunshine Hood said about 500 people attended the event throughout the day, and said she was surprised at the number of new anglers this year.

"We had about the same (number) of people attend last year, but this year we had about 100 kids register and gave out two totes full of traps to new first-time users," she said. "It was great to see so many people learning to fish for the first time. People were really enjoying it."

The event has grown in recent years, Hood said. "We're getting people from all over Maine, not just local residents."

By noontime, Belfast Hannaford Manager Ben Convery said he had flipped and prepared anywhere between 125 and 150 burgers to the hungry fishing crowd.

One of the many community partners that helped make the event so successful, Hood said, Hannaford took care of burgers, chips and condiments. "It is a huge help for us and is one less thing to worry about," she said.

Convery said, "We wanted to be a part of this. It is an opportunity for family and community to come together and have fun outside."

Young ice anglers were given traps, bait and instructions, as well as having holes drilled in the ice for them. There was a warming station with snacks inside the barn with slow cookers serving warm comfort food.

Fat tire bikes were also available through Midcoast Conservancy, and the Bureau of Parks and Lands sponsored a Take It Outside trailer where people could borrow cross-country skis, sleds and ice skates to enjoy on the lake.

Many folks took the opportunity to glide along the lake in a sheltered skating area, while some played a wide-open game of hockey.

"We had no more ice skates to give out," Hood said. "They were all being used."

Finn Cushman of Port Clyde won the "First Fish Caught" prize by landing a 1 pound, 3 ounce brook trout and Sarah Harriman of Montville won the "Largest Fish" caught with a 4 pound, 4 ounce bass.

In total, 13 fish were caught and prizes were awarded to everyone who participated. Hood said more than 200 prizes were awarded through community sponsors.

"A big thanks goes out to all our sponsors and volunteers who made this day possible. Everybody had such a good time," she said. "It was a fabulous day seeing so many new people."

Gotta touch those big fish! Youngsters discover how fins and scales feel as they examine prize catches Jan. 26. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Three-year-old Maguire of Searsmont can fish no more until he gets his nap, according to his mom. He is resting in the warming station at Lake St. George Jan. 26. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Kids play in the snow at Take It Outside! Winter Family Fun Days Jan. 26 at Lake St. George. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Traps, bait and instructions are given to anglers who registered at the Lake St. George fishing derby Jan. 26. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
A hobo cookout demonstration shows how to convert a tin can into a makeshift cook stove. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Ben Convery, manager of the Belfast Hannaford, flips burgers for hungry fishermen Jan. 26 at the Lake St. George fishing derby. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Art's Old Man Birdhouses were among the many prizes available from community sponsors of the Lake St.George fishing derby Jan.26. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Each participating angler received one of these prizes donated by community sponsors at the Lake St. George fishing derby. Over 200 prizes were awarded. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Gotta touch those big fish! Youngsters discover how fins and scales feel as they examine prize catches Jan. 26. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
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