As they look forward to the 38th Annual Webster Lake Ice Fishing Derby this Saturday and Sunday, members of the derby's organizing committee provided a look back at the top anglers from 2016. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
February 15, 2017FRANKLIN — Fishing, food, fabulous prizes and fun await all who take part in the 38th annual Webster Lake Ice Fishing Derby this weekend.
Plans for this year's two-day derby began nearly a year ago and spokesman Chuck Drew of the organizing committee said it is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever this year.
"We signed on a new crew of committee members last year and they've worked really hard to get some great sponsors and a lot of donations for this weekend's derby," Drew said.
Among the Gold Sponsors for 2017 are Franklin Elks Lodge #1280, the Franklin Outing Club, B&H Comfort Heating, KB Insul Tech of Northfield, Rusty's Towing, Camaro Heaven and Jim Jones Real Estate.
Thanks also to the generosity of an anonymous donor, all children who participate in the derby will be registered free of charge. And instead of awarding trophies to just a few children for the fish they catch, Drew said this year each and every child under the age of 16 will receive a ice fishing free tip up just for taking part in the derby.
"We decided that we'd rather give all of them something they can use in the future rather than a trophy to just a few kids who bring in the biggest fish," he said.
Adults are also encouraged to participate, with entry tickets selling for just $12 in advance or $15 on derby days. Advance tickets are available through Friday at Winnisquam Market and Deli on Route 3, Bryant Lawrence Hardware in downtown Tilton, Camaro Heaven on Clark Road in Tilton, Cast Away Bait and Tackle along with Grevior Furniture on Central Street in Franklin, Newfound Trading Post in Bristol, and Barn Store of New England on Old Turnpike Road in Salisbury.
"We literally couldn't do this without them," said Drew.
Several prospective entrants were also surprised with good news this week when they stopped to buy their tickets at the participating businesses.
"The Franklin Savings Bank Smile Squad has been stopping for a couple of hours at each of the sales locations all week to pick up the tab for anyone buying tickets. We thought that was really special and want to say thank you to them for all of their support," Drew said.
Besides some great times fishing on the ice this weekend, volunteers from New Hampshire Fish and Game's "Let's Go Fishing" program will also be on hand on Saturday to give young anglers some valuable tips about ice fishing.
"They have a great free program that helps get kids excited about fishing. I think families will really enjoy it and the kids will learn a lot," said Drew.
Pauli's Diner in Tilton will be providing hot dogs and hamburgers that will be grilled lakeside all weekend. All sales will benefit the local Every Child Is Ours organization in the Winnisquam Regional School District, which provides healthy foods for children of disadvantaged families.
As if that isn't enough, Drew said there will be live music all day Saturday courtesy of Mix 94.1FM, $3,000 in door prize drawings for adults over the weekend, and an additional $500 in drawings for children 15 and under.
Finally, at 3 p.m. on Sunday the longest perch, pickerel and trout checked in over the weekend will be entered in a special drawing for this year's grand prize.
The derby is open to anyone registered for the weekend but limited to fishing in Webster Lake. Committee members would also like to remind everyone that all participants aged 16 and up are required by law to have a New Hampshire state fishing license.
Headquarters for the derby will be set up at Griffin Beach, accessible from Griffin Road off Route 3A north of Franklin, or from Webster Avenue, which is located just off Route 11 in West Franklin.