The 38th Annual Fishing Derby Next Weekend

The two most popular events of the season are upon us! The New England Pond Hockey Classic is taking place this weekend (see our previous post here), and the rinks are all set up and ready for action! Ice-fishing bob houses are also beginning to pop up on the frozen surface of Meredith Bay. Over the next week, folks will gather from all over the country to participate in next weekend’s Great Rotary Fishing Derby!

This year’s Great Rotary Fishing Derby will take place February 11th and 12th, with headquarters at Hesky Park near the Town Docks in Meredith. With a format that has been successful for the past few years now, the largest fish of each of the eligible species will be entered in the grand prize drawings, and a grand-prize winning fish can be caught in any NH fresh water lake open to the public. There is now less pressure to fish only on Lake Winnipesaukee, and less impact on the off-season salmon.

The three top prizes will be awarded to the angler with a valid Derby ticket whose name is drawn on Sunday during the Grand Prize Drawing. First prize is $15,000, second prize is $5,000, and third prize is $3,000. Those who had the largest fish in each category on either Saturday or Sunday of Derby Weekend will be eligible. There will also be drawings hundreds of dollars in cash prizes throughout the weekend for all derby ticket holders, including two Rotary Derby Ticket “Grand Cash Drawings” for $5,000—you don’t need to fish to win!

On Saturday, February 11th, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will once again conduct the “Let’s Go Fishing” program, which is a free hands-on clinic for kids and their parents on the basics of ice fishing.

After the derby, any unwanted fish are donated to The Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, NH, where they are kept frozen and fed to the otters, raptors, and other animals who love these special “trout-cicle” treats!

The two-day ice fishing competition is one of the top fund-raising events in the state, enabling The Meredith Rotary Club to donate more than $1.5 million back into the community for charitable projects, area improvements, scholarships, and families in need. The Rotary Club, in consultation with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, also stocks tagged fish in several New Hampshire Lakes as part of an ongoing fisheries management plan.

Tickets for the Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby can be purchased online at, and are also available at a wide variety of vendors throughout New Hampshire (see the list at this link). Beginning on Friday, February 10th, tickets will be available at the Rotary Derby Headquarters trailer at Hesky Park.

Carrie Reed
The Mill Falls Blogging Team

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