16th Annual Northwest Ice Fishing Festival this weekend

Gary DeVon/staff photo Members of the Forthun family and friends gather each year for a family reunion during the Ice Fishing Festival on Sidley Lake. Several family members plan on being at the 16th Annual NW Ice Fishing Festival this Saturday.

Gary DeVon/G-T File Photos
Members of the Forthun family and friends gather each year for a family reunion during the Ice Fishing Festival on Sidley Lake. Several family members plan on being at the 16th Annual NW Ice Fishing Festival this Saturday.

Anglers fish for a $1000 top prize

MOLSON – The 16th annual Northwest Ice Fishing Festival will take place this Saturday, Jan. 18 on Sidley Lake near Molson with a prize of fishermen and women angling for a $1000 top prize.

“It is that time of year again when over 300 people converge on this historical community of 35 for some outdoor adventure and fun,” said Karen Frisbie, president of the Oroville Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event. “The event is hosted by Molson Grange and iis a statewide favorite.”

Registration takes place at 7 a.m. at the Molson Grange and prizes for adults and youths will be presented after a great day of fishing and enjoying and sharing our community, says Frisbie. Fishing will start at 8 am and go to 3 pm.

Official NW Ice Fishing Festival judge Greg Morey weighs in the 2019 first place fish in the Youth Division which was caught by Ezchial Pruett from the Spokane Valley. His fish was 2 lbs., 13 oz and 17.25 inches long.

Official NW Ice Fishing Festival judge Greg Morey weighs in the 2019 first place fish in the Youth Division which was caught by Ezchial Pruett from the Spokane Valley. His fish was 2 lbs., 13 oz and 17.25 inches long.

“For those who wish to stay warm, there are activities inside the Grange all day; starting with a pancake breakfast in the morning, the traditional arts & crafts fair, Makerspace activities for the kids, a silent auction and the return of Joyful Thai for lunch,” said Frisbie.

These activities combine with visiting with friends new and old, according to Frisbie, who reminds everyone not to forget the Ice Hut Contest, which awards a special prize to the best decorated ice hut.

Last year’s catch exceeded the records broken in 2018 and the sponsors are hoping for even better fishing this year. 2019 boasted 63 fish caught for a total weight of 63.75 pounds fish. The daily limit was raised by the state Department of Fish & Wildlife to daily catch limits of five.

“Anglers from as far away as Michigan make the trip for this annual event,” said Frisbie. “One of the most important pieces of this tournament is continuing the tradition of our outdoor sportsman culture while bringing friends and neighbors out in the middle of winter to experience our amazing natural resources.”

Frisbie said the tournament could not take place without the chamber members and the tournament’s sponsors. This year’s Gold Sponsors are: The Country Store, Midway Building Supply, North Cascades Broadcasting and Upper Valley Disposal. Silver Sponsors include: Oroville Dental Center, Oroville Reman & Reload and The VIP Agency Group.

“We appreciate our sponsors’ commitment to our community,” she said.

Many local organizations come together to raise funds for their annual budgets through providing services, according to Frisbie. The Oroville Chamber handles the logistics, sponsorship and registration of the event and can be reached at 509-557-5165 with any questions. The Molson Grange has Penny Cole to assist vendors with questions regarding the arts & crafts fair, as well as the Grange Breakfast at 509-485-2343.The Oroville Library is bringing Makerspace activities for the youth this year. In addition, the Chamber is organizing a Silent Auction to help local youth get an awning for the Okanogan County Fair to show their feathered friends and to the Sidley Lake Aerator for power costs and maintenance.

“A huge thank you to Keven Myrick, Dave Mullins and Jerry Nelson for all the work you put into keeping the lakes healthy and aerator running. You are greatly appreciated!” she said.

 

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.