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More than 1,100 anglers fish icy waters in derby

SINCLAIR, Maine — More than 1,121 people converged on Long Lake and the surrounding area over the weekend to participate in the 14th annual Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby, which the Long Lake Sporting Club sponsored to benefit the Edgar J. Paradis Cancer Fund.

Despite nasty weather on Thursday, fishermen said they were thankful Saturday for the rain that helped to pack down the snow which accumulated from last weekend’s storm. Still, the lake conditions were less than ideal for trekking out to the fishing cabins from the sporting club.

Regardless, the sun shone on participants and their families Saturday morning as people trickled in for officials to tally their fish. Fishermen brought salmon, brook trout, togue, cusk and yellow perch to the official weigh station, located at derby headquarters at the Sporting Club. Meanwhile, all the muskie went to Joe’s Country Store in St. Francis.

Before 9 a.m. people were already bringing their fish to headquarters, including 6-year-old Stephen Pernier from Baileyville, who caught a 4-pound salmon. Pernier said he had been out there only a couple hours before he caught his first fish. This was his first year fishing in the derby, though his father had participated in the derby for the last three years.

“I wanted to do it because it is fun, and my dad likes it,” young Pernier said. He added that “it felt good” to catch the larger salmon.

Derby Director Chris Haskins weighs a fish caught Saturday morning at the Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby. (Morgan Mitchell)

A few VIP anglers were on the lake Saturday, including the Paradis brothers who started the Edgar J. Paradis Cancer Fund. The modest pair, Roland and Danny, were fishing for the cause. Their brother, Edgar, died from leukemia, and the brothers initiated the fund to help those in the area that cancer affects.

Wilfred Saucier, a friend of the Paradis family, fished with the two. The bond between Saucier and the brothers appeared to run deeper than the frozen lake.

“I didn’t believe in the Edgar J. Paradis Fund until my wife got cancer,” Saucier said. “The help that she got was very good.”

Saucier said he was there Saturday to help the cause and “do everything [he] can” for the cancer fund.

“If this keeps up, a lot of people are going to get some help, and that is very good,” he said.

The fishing continued through Saturday into Sunday before the awards ceremony. At that point, the fishermen gathered at the sporting club headquarters for announcements of the winners, which included the following.

Robert Nason won the top salmon prize, with his catch weighing 6 pounds, 12.8 ounces, measuring 26 inches. Jason Pelletier came in second at 6 pounds, 12.8 ounces, 26.25 inches, with Brandon Ouellette coming in third at 5 pounds, 8.4 ounces, 26.25 inches.

Corey Daigle captured top brook trout honors for a trout weighing 3 pounds, 2.2 ounces, measuring 20.5 inches. Following him were Peter Daigle, second place, 2 pounds, 13.4 ounces, 19.25 inches; and Lorraine Tulkey, 2 pounds, 9.2 ounces, 17.75 inches.

In the togue category, Camden Huck took first place with his fish coming in at 10 pounds, 7.8 ounces, 30.75 inches, followed by Emil Huck, second place, 6 pounds, 12.8 ounces and 27 inches. Camden Huck also won third place for another togue weighing 6 pounds, 3 ounces and 25.5 inches long.

Devan Cyr took the muskie prize for his entry topping the scales at 26 pounds, 9.9 ounces, 44.57 inches long. Allan Albert was second with a fish 16 pounds, 3.4 ounces and 39 inches, with third place going to Thomas McGown, 15 pounds, 0.3 ounces, 38.75 inches.

Darren Donovan won first place in the cusk category for his fish weighing 9 pounds, 5.4 ounces. Kent Raymond took both second and third for cusk weighing in at 6 pounds, 14.8 ounces, and 6 pounds, 0.8 ounces.  

In the contest for catching the most perch, Dillon Drew earned first place for 169, with Shawn Bugbee coming in second with 166 and Westley Hitchcock taking third place for 133.

The prize for the largest perch went to Dillon Drew for a specimen 13.25 inches long, weighing 1 pound, 2.2 ounces. Paul St. Amand was second with a 13-inch-long fish weighing 1 pound, 2.2 ounces, and Amy Ross came in third with her fish at 1 pound, 1.2 ounces. measuring 12.5 inches.

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