The 9th annual Everett Wile Memorial Catch the Rainbow Ice Fishing Tournament Feb. 18 will be one hard derby to top.
It seems Mother Nature signed on as a partner with the Hants West Wildlife Association (HWWA) to make sure Meadow Pond was a hub of activity Feb. 18.
The wind amounted to little more than a subtle breeze and the temperature was cold enough to keep the pond frozen, and mild enough to lure more than 125 anglers of all ages to Meadow Pond between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.
“Thirty-one youth registered with us and this is the main focus for us — to have families participating in outdoor events,” said Gary Marlborough, of the HWWA.
For Brian Wile, a relative of the late Everett Wile, the annual ice fishing derby is an opportunity to set a personal best, which, he jokes, is harder than it sounds.
“Four years in, and I haven’t caught a fish yet,” the Union Corner resident admitted with a laugh.
The fish were sparse, but spirits were high on Meadow Pond.
Eleven-year-old Bergen Gilbert, of South Rawdon, wanted to bring a frying pan to cook the trout as soon as he, or his grandfather Conrad Gilbert, reeled one in. As of noon, there was still no need for the first timers to dig out the cooking utensils.
When it seemed most of the huts on the ice were packed with anglers excited to have the slightest nibble on their line, Dartmouth’s Steve Andrews had already pulled three trout out of the pond using shrimp as bait. It was Andrews’ first time participating in the Windsor-based derby.
Proceeds raised from the fishing derby are used to cover the cost of the Learn 2 Fish Program that sends members of the HWWA to local elementary schools to teach Grade 4 students the basics of angling each spring. Art Vidito won the 50/50 draw at the ice derby and donated his winnings back to the HWWA to show his support for the non-profit group’s cause.