Meredith Welcomes the 35th Annual Great Rotary Fishing Derby!

fishing derbyNext weekend, the frozen surface of Lake Winnipesaukee will be transformed into a bustling metropolis of ice-fishing bob houses and folks gathered from all over the country to participate in one of the Lakes Region’s biggest winter events. The Great Rotary Fishing Derby has been drawing crowds to Lake Winnipesaukee for 35 years, with anglers hoping to snag the heaviest eligible fish for a chance to win the grand prize.

This year’s Great Rotary Fishing Derby will take place February 8th and 9th, with headquarters on Meredith Bay. After a successful first run with new rules last year, the Meredith Rotary Club is continuing the same format this year. By eliminating the tagged rainbow trout as the only possible winner category for the top three prizes and opening the prize structure to all Derby ticket holders, the Derby is more accessible to everyone. Now, the largest fish of each of the eligible species (white perch, yellow perch, cusk, lake trout, pickerel, black crappie, or rainbow trout) will be entered in the grand prize drawings, and a grand-prize winning fish can be caught in any fresh water open to the public. There will be less pressure to fish only on Lake Winnipesaukee, and less impact on the off-season salmon. Additionally, the Rotary Club will be providing all cash prizes instead of items such as a fishing boat or ATV as in years past.

The three top prizeswill 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—you don’t need to fish to win!

fishingderby-08-049On Saturday, February 8th, The Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby will host the “Let’s Go Fishing” program in conjunction with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. This is a free hands-on clinic for kids and their parents on the basics of ice fishing, developed by the Fish and Game Department.

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.

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!

Tickets for the Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby available to purchase online at the Meredith Rotary website through February 6th, and are also available at a wide variety of vendors throughout New Hampshire. Beginning on Friday, February 7th, tickets will also be available at the Rotary Derby Headquarters trailer in Meredith.

For updates or more information, call 603-279-7600 or visit the Meredith Rotary Club website at or Facebook page here.

Carrie Reed
The Mill Falls Blogging Team

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