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Ice fishing derby features $2,000 grand prize
ROXBURY POND -- This year's 33rd annual Larry Mercier Memorial Ice Fishing Derby features a $2,000 grand prize for anyone catching the three- to four-pound tagged brook trout.
The event, sponsored by the Mexico Lions Club, will take place on Roxbury Pond from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, with a rain date of Sunday.
Anglers from all over this region and beyond are expected to gather here for fun, fishing and a chance to win some cash. According to Roland Patneaude of the Mexico Lions Club, there were 512 people registered for this event in 2011.
Anglers can pre-register for the $10 entry fee at Roland's Automotive, the Mexico Trading Post or at Dyer's Electronics. This event also coincides with the free fishing weekend, meaning a fishing license is not required to participate.
There will be payouts of $200, $150 and $100 for the top three catches of pickerel and bass, as well as $150 for the largest trout and $100 for the largest perch.
All of the prize will be awarded at 3 p.m. the day of the derby. The Lions will also be giving away donated prizes drawn from registrations, which will include an ice auger.
The Lions lunch wagon will be there as well, offering hot dogs, hamburgers, soda, coffee, etc. Patneaude said they're taking "two old chefs" out of retirement to prepare the food.
New this year for the fishing derby is the brand new boat launch, which makes for easier access to the ice.
For more information on this event, call Roland Patneaude at 562-0949.
The fishing derby is named after Larry Mercier, who passed away in the early 1980's. A lifetime member of the Lions, he was a barbar who also sold live bait and came up with the idea for the fishing derby.
The event is a fundraiser by the Lions Club to provide eyeglasses for the needy locally, who otherwise would not be able to afford proper eye care.
All proceeds are distributed to the Mexico, Rumford and Roxbury area residents.
For the program, the Lions take used, donated eyeglasses and hearing aids, then pay to have them refurbished.
This is a service the club has performed for some 40 years.
Live bait available
ROXBURY POND -- Live bait for the Larry Mercier Memorial Ice Fishing Derby can be purchased at the Ellis Pond Variety, located near Roxbury Pond.
People are asked to call early (545-2713) so the store can plan ahead. Anglers can also pay the $10 registration fee early here.
Store owner Dennis Daniel said he is opening his business at 4:30 a.m. the day of the event, serving a full breakfast as well as sandwiches to go.
"People from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire come here every year, either to see people they know or just for the event. This is very much a family-oriented event. You see people helping people for such things as drilling homs in the ice, and adults teaching the children about ice fishing."
Daniel said the thickness of the ice is "definitely over 20 inches."