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SLRWA preps for eighth annual derby

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Ranked among the most celebrated north country fishing derbies, the St. Lawrence River Walleye Association’s (SLRWA) eighth annual Northern Pike Challenge is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22. Among the special features of the 2014 Challenge are its catch-and-release nature and the awarding of five $1,000 cash door prizes.

Participating anglers are restricted to fishing the Waddington waters of Fobare’s Pond from the train trestle to Route 37, 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 prizes the Challenge features $1,000 payout per hour for the three largest northern pike, including $500 for first, $300 for second, and $200 for third. This payout is based on a registration of 1,000 anglers. Also, $100 cash will be awarded for the day’s largest pike and $100 for the biggest walleye. Three River’s Taxidermy in Lisbon is awarding a free mount for the largest pike 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. Too, prizes will be awarded for the wackiest hat in both the Adult and Youth divisions.

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 Feb. 15 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 Chapman’s Sport Shop (Black Lake), Green Machine Bait and Tackle (Irish Settlement Rd., Waddington), American Legion (East Orvis St., Massena), Northwoods Outfitters (Potsdam), and Uppstrom’s Bait and Tackle (Waddington).

Registration closes at these locations on Feb. 20. 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 #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 #2 located on Route 37 (approximately five miles east of Coles Creek and approximately three miles west of Massena) between 3-7 a.m. 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 that it was caught.

Fun Day

Sponsored by Subway, Budweiser, and Twinleaf Stores, the 2014 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, including a complete set of rules, visit the Web site listed above or call Mike at 384-3450.

Outdoors Calendar

Feb. 15: Wheathouse Bay Battle of the Bay Ice Fishing Derby (393-3669).

Feb. 15: Clayton FD and K of C’s 9th Annual Catch and Release Ice Fishing Derby (771-3533).

Feb. 15: Plessis Annual Luck of the Draw Ice Fishing Derby.

Feb. 15: Hunting seasons close for bobcats and fox.

Feb. 21: Public Comment Period closes on DEC Black Bear Management Plan.

Feb. 22: St. Lawrence River Walleye Association’s 8th Annual Northern Pike Challenge (384-3450).

Feb. 22: Gouverneur Fire Department’s Open-Boundary Ice Fishing Tournament.

Feb. 28: Seasons close for gray squirrels, ruffed grouse, and pheasants.

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