The 2005 Great Rotary Fishing Derby
by Michael Edwards
2004 Article | 2000
2005 Winners |
2004 Winners |
2003 Winners |
Link to Meredith Rotary Club
Again the Meredith Rotary Club ran a top notch derby with some awesome prizes...the
grand prize being a 2005 GMC 1500 SLE 4WD. Attendence toped 6,000 anglers and mother
nature made some awesome weather for the weekend.
Regular attendees of the derby experienced the normal winter carnival like atmosphere of
Meredith NH, where the Derby headquarters are always located. There was the
usual hustle and bustle of hundreds of anglers driving out onto the lake past the derby
headquarters; hundreds of snowmobilers were buzzing about; and hundreds of
spectators watching with interest; while vendors were selling food and merchandise.
The weekend consisted of beautiful blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures, with the
afternoon high's in the 40's. There was very little breeze, even out on the broads.
The weather on day was perfect...but not for the fish. It seems as though the
fish were not that plentiful during the derby weekend. Anglers all over the lake
commented how slow the fishing was during both Saturday and Sunday. Many, if not
most, said that the fishing was much better during the week leading up to the derby.
A trip around the lake on Sunday morning yielded few stories of catching
fish...but it was a simply beautiful day for traveling around the lake by snowmobile and
visiting with anglers.
I launched out of Ellacoya and quickly stopped at a nearby bobhouse to inquire about
the fishing. Lakers were being spotted on both depthfinders and AquaView cameras,
but none were picking up the jigs. I was so determined to find successful anglers
that I sped off without even getting names of the anglers I talked with.
Second stop was the shoreline of Diamond Island facing Ames Farm. There I spoke
with Sheila and Jason Brettora, Mark and Shane Davis, Duane and Nathan Patterson, Bob
Davis, Pete Ditman and Karen Wells. They were fishless on the day but were enjoying
the weather and some snowmobiling.
I then sped off to the west end of Diamond Island to see how a group was doing that had
set up on a hump about 200 yards from the Island. Again the story of a fishless day
was told. I stayed long enough to eat some Teriyaki Venison with Kyle and Gary
Croteau, Nathan Hardy and Pat and Glenn Gagne. These folks were using cusk traps
with chicken livers in 40 feet of water with no luck.
A fast ride out to the broads brought me to the middle of the lake and face to face
with Joe Martin. Joe had by far the best designed bobhouse I have ever seen. I
asked Joe to contact me and hopefully we will be able to do an article on his bobhouse.
Joe is a professional builder and his experience truly showed through in the
thoughtful, strong but lightweight design of his ice shanty. Joe had been on the
lake since the Wednesday before the derby and had caught a lot of lakers on these mid-lake
humps during Wednesday, Thursday, and early Friday. And at that point the fishing
shut off and moving from hump to hump didn't change the results. He did have a large
laker on the line Saturday night but was not able to land the fish. He believes the
fish would have been on the board since he watched it on the Guide Glen underwater camera
when it picked up the bait. Guess that's why we call it fishing, and not catching.
I then blasted to the Winter Harbor area where I met up with John Clark and his crew.
They were having some luck inside Winter Harbor. During Saturday and Sunday
they managed to land a couple rainbows, 3 salmon (released of course), a couple suckers, a
number of lakers including a very nice 30 inch fish that I saw, and a few cusks. All
the fish were caught along the shoreline in 4 to 30 feet of water.
Next stop was a run all the way into Wolfeboro
Bay. A large teepee in the bay caught my eye and I made a beeline for it. Upon
arriving, I met Avon and Gunner Kenison, their nephew Eric, and Gardener and Rebecca
Murphy. They told me that they are 10 year veterans of the derby and caught lake
trout both Saturday and Sunday using smelt and suckers on tip-ups.
I then packed up and blasted straight up the lake all the way to Guilford Beach.
There I stopped off at a truck sitting on the ice with a camper. The ice was kindof
slushy and I had to meet the guys that felt safe enough on such a warm day to have such a
heavy setup on the ice. I learned that the ice under the truck was over 18 inches
thick so I felt safe enough to stop long enough to ask how the fishing was going.
Adam Anderson and John Czasnowski told me that they hadn't caught a fish in 2 days, but
were enyoying the weather.
At this point it was getting near the end of the derby and I had to head up to Meredith
to interview the winners. So, with a quick goodbye I blasted past the witches and up
Headquarters and the Winners
In the hectic pace of the awards ceremony it's often hard to get interviews with all
the winners. As in the past I did my best and here is what I heard.
The grand prize winner was Neil Doiron from Hudson, NH. Anyone in the crowd can
tell you that Neil was fired up during the last hour up to the close of the derby.
This 25 year old angler was looking at a chance to win a 2005 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE 4x4
valued at over $30,000. Who could blame him. When the winner was finally
announced, I think everyone on the entire lake from Meredith to Lees to Wolfeboro to Alton
Bay knew that Neil had won. Neil had one flag, caught one fish, and won the 2005
Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby with a tagged rainbow that weighed 2.91 pounds.
The fish was caught in 4 feet of water on a sandy spot at 8:15am Saturday morning
on a large shiner. Although the exact spot was not revealed, it was somewhere at the
end of Meredith Bay.
4th place cusk was caught sometime Saturday night by Gary Longley off Eagle Island in
15 feet of water with a rocky bottom using a cusk trap. Gary was accompanied on the
ice by his wife Valerie and his son Josh. Gary attributed his success to two things:
1) large shiners, 2) a bell tied to the line about a foot from the hook which made a noise
every time the shiner moved. He read about this technique somewhere and is convinced
it allowed him to catch a number of nice cusk during the derby. 5 years ago Gary was
also 4th place winner for cusk at the derby, so he seems to know what he is talking about.
1st place lake trout was caught by Paul Cayer of Tamworth. Paul would only say
the fish was caught on Winni somewhere near the Bear Island area in 38 feet of water using
medium shiners on Saturday morning. No matter how hard I pressed, he wouldn't give
up the spot. This was Paul's fourth year fishing the derby and he fished with his
brother Jim. The team also caught 4 other lake trout on their spot while jigging.
The Wrap Up
That's the results from my annual tour around Lake Winnipesaukee during the Great
Rotary Derby. I should mention that the dearth of pictures is due in part to my
over-enjoyment of my 2004 Yamaha Warrior snowmobile. You see, this is the 1000cc
four-stroke that is capable of speeds in excess of 120 mph. Well, it also is great
for jumping. They sled and its rider (me ;-) survived the trip, but the digital
camera did not. Sorry for the lack of pictures this year, but thanks to everyone
that sent in their pic's for me to use with the article.
Comments box below includes comments
from all derbies since 2000
|What's your experience with this subject?
|Click here to view other sportsmen's posts