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Orange resident reels in the big one at Alexandria VFA's Ice Fishing Derby

Christopher Drouin of Orange was excited when his 6.43 pound, 28-inch lake trout not only took first place in that category but turned out to be the overall winner in the Alexandria Volunteer Firefighters Association Ice Fishing Derby last weekend. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
February 27, 2019
ALEXANDRIA – Christopher Drouin of Orange said he has never caught a fish that made it to the Winner's Board for the Alexandria Volunteer Firefighter's Association Fishing Ice Fishing Derby, but this year, he hit the jackpot. His 6.43 pound, 28-inch catch not only received the $150 first place prize for the largest lake trout; it also brought home the $1,000 Grand Prize for the largest fish pulled in over the two-day event.

Drouin said he had actually been jigging for perch off Whittemore Point over the weekend when he felt a tug that was a quite a bit more than he expected.

"It took me a long time to pull it in on just a two-pound test line," he said as he held up his winning fish. "It's been a great weekend!"

He added that due to the unusual circumstances under which the Laker was caught, he was off to find a taxidermist to mount it for him.

"This is something I want to remember," Drouin said.

Young Hunter Crowley of Bedford had a great weekend as well. The Alexandria derby places all catches on the board for potential prize money, but if children have entries that get knocked off that leader board, they are placed into the special children's category, open to fish of any species.

Crowley, who caught a trophy-winning trout in the Webster Lake Derby last weekend, came up big in Newfound Lake this week, too. His 3.26-lb. rainbow trout not only came in third-place overall, but was first for the youth division as well.

"I came out of the ice hut and saw a flag was up so I ran right over to my tip up," Crowley said. "It took a lot of line and it was a good two-minute fight to pull him in."

He also had a few other fish that made it to the winner's board so Sunday night he drove home with trophies, cash and gift certificate for his efforts. Many older, experienced anglers said that they would like to have Crowley give them some tips for success in the future.

Other winners in the children's category were 11-year-old Ava of Canterbury who placed second in the competition and Jayden Gilpatric of Bridgewater who came in third.

Trophies for the children's division were once again provided by Tracy Simula, who said he has done so since 2005 in memory of his dad Richard Simula who was an active member of the Newfound community.

"It's great to see kids out here taking part in outdoor activities like this and I will support it for as long as I can," he said.

Other first place winners in the derby were Walter Young (cusk), Art Pitts (pickerel), Gerald Miller (rainbow trout), and Cory Stillings who pulled in the top perch. Each first place catch awarded entrants with $150 in cash, second place paid $100 and third place received a $50 prize.

Lt. James Kneeland of N.H. Fish and Game said that on Saturday there was great weather on Saturday and he saw a lot of fish being pulled in by participants. Derby organizer Jim Shokal of Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department was happy with not only the weather at the start of the weekend, but the great attendance they had for the fire department's 28th annual ice fishing derby.

"We had a total of 477 people register and while that's not quite a record, it was an excellent turnout and we thank all who took part," Shokal said.

Throughout the two days there were also more than $2,000 in raffle prizes awarded thanks to donations from local businesses and community partners.

AVFD Chief George Clayman was equally pleased with this year's derby success.

Clayman said, "We want to thank everyone in the community for always supporting us, specifically all who donated to and took part in the derby. We had a great year and look forward to seeing everyone again next year."

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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