Anglers invited to cast lines at annual Michael J. Rowe Memorial Ice Fishing Derby

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Wilton Fish & Game Association member Alan Hart instructs a child on how to ice fish. The club will host a free ice-fishing clinic for all ages Saturday, Feb. 17, as part of the ice fishing derby at Wilson Lake. 

WILTON — The Wilton Fish & Game Association’s fourth annual Michael J. Rowe Memorial Ice Fishing Derby on Wilson Lake is quickly approaching. The event will be held from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at Wilson Lake.

The event coincides with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Free Fishing Weekend. This means that any person (except those whose license has been suspended or revoked) may fish without a fishing license.

Even people who have never gone ice fishing are encouraged to attend. A free ice-fishing clinic for all ages will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All bait and equipment will be provided.

Registration for the event is $5. People can register from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. the day of the event at the Wilson Lake boat launch area. Tickets are also available in advance at Shelly’s Hometown Market, Backwoods Bait and Tackle in Chesterville, Robin’s Bait Shop in Jay and Dag’s Bait.

Wilton Fish & Game Association member Alan Hart instructs a child on how to ice fish. The club will host a free ice-fishing clinic for all ages Saturday, Feb. 17, as part of the ice fishing derby at Wilson Lake. 

The first 50 youth to go to the registration shack with a ticket on the day of the event will get a free grab bag full of items.

Many door prizes will be given away at the event, including a 10-inch auger, a toboggan and gift certificates from area businesses. All youth 15 and under participating in the event will be entered to win a lifetime fishing license.

Adult prizes include a two-man ice shelter, a jet sled with hitch and cover and  pack basket with liner. Prizes will be awarded in three adult categories: Brook Trout, Togue and Salmon.

Youth prizes include a boxed set of traps for the heaviest fish. Other categories will get a package that includes a pack basket, bait net, a trap and two movie tickets. Prizes will be awarded in six youth categories: Brook Trout, Togue, Pickerel, Salmon, Bass, Yellow Perch and White Perch. There will be a special prize for smallest fish.

All prizes will be announced and awarded beginning at 4 p.m.

Food concessions will include French fries, grilled hot dogs and bottled water. Souvenir hats and T-shirts will be available for sale. Tickets for a 50/50 drawing will also be available.

The Rowe Memorial Ice Fishing Derby is held in memory of Michael J. Rowe, who was killed in a tragic woods accident. For more information, phone 207-491-0780.