Benefit ice-fishing derby planned

If you enjoy ice fishing and are up for a bit of fun competition, Wes Ashe has a deal for you.

Best of all: You’ll be paying tribute to an avid angler who died far too young, and helping boost the college fund of that fisherman’s son.

Last year Ashe helped organize a season-long fishing derby in his friend, Alec Cyr, who died in October of 2011 after battling colon cancer. The derby, which actually originated a year earlier, grew in size from “just a handful” of participants to more than 40 last winter.

This year, Ashe is again organizing the event, and hopes even more folks choose to fish, and to help young Chase Cyr, who was born in May 2011, just five months before his dad passed away.

Here’s how the derby works: Participants can fish any legal waters in Maine, and are allowed to register any species of fish they catch. They’ll do that by taking a photo of the fish, alongside a tape measure and the 2013 derby card.

Ashe will update a spreadsheet that includes all fish caught, and will email that list to all participants each week. That way, he explains, anglers can target species that have not yet been caught, or in which the biggest fish is not exactly a whopper.

The winner in each category earns a “token,” and at the end of the year, all those tokens will be entered into a lottery, with one grand prize winner taking home the pot.

Entry in the derby is just $10, and you can find out more by sending email to You can also enter by sending $10 to Wes Ashe, 176 Lakeview Drive, South China 04358. Include your name, address, email address and phone number with your entry fee.

Among the species winners last year: A 20-inch brook trout, a 24-inch cusk, a 22-inch largemouth bass and a 14-inch yellow perch. Anglers entered more than 20 different species of fish during the 2012 derby, according to Ashe. And the category winners came from all across the state: the top rainbow smelt came from St. Froid Lake in Aroostook County; the biggest lake whitefish was from Washington County’s West Grand Lake; the top largemouth bass swam in Annabessacook Lake in Kennebec County; the lunker brown trout was from Crystal Lake in Cumberland County.

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.