4th annual China Lake Ice Fishing Derby to be held on Maine’s free fishing weekend

Families were scattered about China Lake last year during the Four Seasons Club fishing derby. (photo by Cindy Senbell)

by Sandra Isaac

The China Four Seasons Club and the China Village Fire Department are co-hosting the 4th Annual China Lake Ice Fishing Derby to be held on Sunday, February 19, during Maine’s Free Fishing Weekend.

Similar to last year, there will be town-wide “China Ice Days” activities starting on Friday night with a dinner at the China Mason’s Lodge and a guided snowmobile run directly after. More events including sledding, ice skating and a Cornhole tournament will be occurring throughout the day on Saturday. Sunday is still dedicated to the ice fishing derby with fishing limited to China Lake. The ice fishing derby will finish with a fireworks display after the derby’s award ceremony. All the weekend’s activities will be open to the public.

Two hardy young anglers show off their haul during the weigh-in at last year’s event. (photo by Cindy Senbell)

“We were a little nervous about the lack of ice early in the season, but Mother Nature seems to be doing her part and we fully expect there to be a good, solid layer of ice for fishing,” said China Four Seasons Club President Tom Rumpf. “We still need to keep our fingers crossed for snow and more ice. The lack of snow, for example, caused The China Lake Camp & Conference Center to cancel sledding last year. We encourage people to check out our website and look at the Ice Derby’s Facebook page for updates.”

Reservations are requested for the lasagna dinner at the Mason’s Lodge, as well as for the Cornhole tournament. Both activities have fees involved. Sledding and the cardboard sled race at the China Lake Camp & Conference Center and the ice skating at the town rink are free and open to all.

Rumpf continued, “The China Ice Days and the Annual Fishing Derby are a great way for individuals and families to come out and enjoy the outdoors and be part of a China area tradition. Last year was amazing and so much fun! This is also Maine’s free fishing weekend which is a nice bonus. We will be following all State of Maine ice fishing laws and rules.”

Fishing derby weigh-in time will be at 4 p.m. on Sunday and all entries must be in line at the Fire Station Building [on Causeway Road] by 4 p.m. to qualify for a prize. Prizes will be awarded in the following fish categories: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, brown trout, brook trout, and pickerel. The children’s category will be perch and kids will be awarded prizes for the top five winners with the most perch caught. The lunker of the day – the largest fish overall – will be the derby’s top prize.

The first 100 kids to stop in at the China Village Fire station will receive special takeaway ice fishing bait buckets filled with some great items courtesy of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Jack Traps of Maine, and The Maine Audubon Society. The buckets will be available starting at 5 a.m. on the day of the derby. In addition, Central Church will be set up on the ice across from the fire station on Causeway Road to work with kids who are new to fishing and Traps for Kids of Maine will be set up next to them, giving away free traps to kids who need them, while supplies last.

A young angler tries to pull up her catch during last year’s derby. (photo by Cindy Senbell)

“We will also be giving away over 30 door prizes including an StrikeMaster Electric Ice Auger courtesy of Jack Traps of Maine and Brookfield Renewable Energy, 100 gallons of heating fuel from Augusta Fuel Company, Pumping Services from B&B Septic, a kayak from Hannaford Supermarket, tons of amazing items from our friends at Whitt’s Garment Works, plus many more prizes and gift certificates, all from great local businesses,” said Rumpf.

Tickets for the derby are available for $5 a piece or 3 for $10 at many local stores including China Variety & Redemption, Greg’s Restaurant, Harvest Time Bait, Lakeview Lumber, Maritime Farms and Tobey’s. You can also purchase tickets from members of the China Four Seasons Club and the China Village Fire Department.

The China Four Seasons Club maintains a dedicated Facebook page and a website to share information on door prizes, sponsors, and ticket information. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/China-Lake-Ice-Fishing-Derby or www.chinalakeicefishingderby.com.


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