AUGUSTA – The “Hooked on Fishing” Kids’ Derby is set for Range Ponds State Park on Monday, Feb. 18, when the Presidents Day national holiday will be observed. This is the fourth Kids’ Derby at the park, located off the Empire Road in Poland.
The Derby runs from 8 a.m. to noon, and all that kids have to do is show up and drop a line in the water. Volunteers from the Sebago Lake Rotary will drill fishing holes through the ice early that morning, and other volunteers will be on hand to bait hooks, mostly with small shiners.
The event is an introduction to ice fishing, organized for children not familiar with the activity. “This is a wonderful opportunity to take your kids out for an enjoyable and educational experience,” said Walt Whitcomb, commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF), which includes the Division of Parks and Public Lands. “Ice fishing is a Maine tradition, and there’s no better way for kids to learn how to ice fish than by doing it.”
There is no charge for children 12 and under, and the first 500 who pre-register and arrive at the park by 10 a.m. will receive free ice fishing rigs, courtesy of Kittery Trading Post. Click here to download and print a PDF registration form or sign up online at 2013 Online Registration – KTP Kid’s Derby!
Lower Range Pond will be stocked with 500 brook trout. The stocking will take place close to Derby day, and event officials are asking that no “pre-fishing” take place. “Even if you do catch and release, it has an impact on how quickly fish will resume feeding,” said Francis Brautigam, a fish biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
The Kids’ Derby follows a major ice fishing derby on nearby Sebago Lake on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16 and 17, a free fishing weekend. Both events are part of the Great Maine Outdoors Weekend.
According to park officials, the recent cold weather should create ideal ice conditions.
February 13, 2013
Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry