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Hooks & Antlers: Northern Pike Challenge set for Feb. 23

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Ranked among the most celebrated north country fishing derbies, the St. Lawrence River Walleye Association’s (SLRWA) seventh annual Northern Pike Challenge is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 23.

Among the unique features of the 2013 Challenge are the catch-and-release nature, and the awarding of a $2,500 door prize.

Participating anglers are restricted to fishing the Waddington waters of Fobare’s Pond to the train trestle, Cole’s Creek Marina and Bay, Wilson Hill, and Brandy Brook. Fishing hours for the event run from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Prizes

In addition to the top door prize, the Challenge features $1,000 payout per hour for the three largest northern pike, including $500 for first place, $300 for second, and $200 for third. This payout is based on a registration of 1,000 anglers. Also, $100 will be awarded for the day’s largest pike and $100 for the biggest walleye, while $50 will be awarded to the wearer of the wackiest hat.

Nature’s Trophies Taxidermy in Waddington is awarding a free mount for the largest fish of the day.

The Youth Division (age 15 and under) features 100 percent payback of entry fees, and prizes will be awarded based on the largest yellow perch.

Organizers note that they will be awarding “tons” of door prizes, and all prizes will be awarded at Sandy Beach at 4 p.m.

Registration

Entry fees are $30 for Adult Division when registering by Saturday and $35 after that date. Registration for the youth division is $10 although youths may also enter the adult competition for the adult registration fee.

Registration sites include Sandy’s Custom Tackle (Lisbon), Chapman’s Sport Shop (Black Lake), Green Machine Bait and Tackle (Irish Settlement Road, Waddington), American Legion (Massena), Northwoods Outfitters (Potsdam), and Uppstrom’s Bait and Tackle (Waddington).

Registration closes at these locations on Thursday, Feb. 21. Individuals can also register by visiting www.stlawrenceriverwalleyeassociation.com and printing out a mail-in registration form.

A last-chance registration will take place at the Louisville Fire Station No. 2 on the morning of the event. This registration begins at 3 a.m. and closes promptly at 7 a.m.

Prior to fishing, all entrants must sign in on the day of the event at the Louisville Fire Station No. 2 located on Route 37 (about 5 miles east of Coles Creek and 3 miles west of Massena).

Sign-in hours run from 3 to 7 a.m., and each angler will receive a registration number for the door-prize drawings. No exceptions will be made to the sign-in hours.

Catch-and-Release Event

In an effort to protect the St. Lawrence River pike fishery, the Northern Pike Challenge is a catch-and-release event.

To facilitate the successful release of fish, anglers must bring their catch to the weigh scales in a container (bucket, fish bag, cooler, etc.) with water so that the head and gills of the fish are submerged in water.

Only live fish will be accepted for entry at the on-site, weigh-in stations, and all entries become the property of SLRWA.

Anglers are required to enter a fish during the hour when it was caught.

Fun Day

Sponsored by Subway and Budweiser, the 2013 Challenge is a true celebration of ice fishing, and proceeds from the event aid the SLRWA in its walleye-stocking and conservation programs.

Participants are reminded to follow all angling, conservation, ATV, and snow-sled regulations, and to behave in a respectful manner regarding the environment and fellow anglers.

For more information, visit the website listed above or call Mike at 384-3450.

OUTDOOR CALENDAR

Tuesday: Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of SLC Meet at Canton BOCES at 7 p.m.

Wednesday-Sunday: Central New York Boat Show at NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse.

Saturday: Howie’s/FishCap Wheathouse Bay Ice Fishing Derby (393-3669) to benefit Ogdensburg Volunteer Rescue Squad and the Wounded Warriors Outdoor Adventures.

Saturday: Clayton’s eighth annual Catch-and-Release Ice Fishing Derby (771-3533 or 767-4497).

Saturday: Plessis Annual Fishing Derby (Luck of the Draw and Big Fish Divisions).

Saturday-Sunday: Adirondack Outdoorsman Show at Johnstown Moose Club (www.adkshow.com).

Feb. 23: SLRWA’s annual Northern Pike Challenge (384-3450).

Feb. 23: Racquette Valley F&G Club’s Ice Fishing Derby.

March 2: Cranberry Lake VF&R Last Chance Ice Fishing Derby (848-2937).

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