NW Ice Fishing Festival helps support visitor center

More than 5000 catchable fish plant

MOLSON – The 2013 Northwest Ice Fishing Festival will be the Saturday of Presidents’ Day Weekend, Feb. 16 at Molson.

The annual fishing contest, sponsored by the Oroville Chamber of Commerce and hosted by the Molson Grange takes place on Sidley Lake. And with the October planting of 5000 “catchable fish” and improvements to the aerator, participating anglers should have a much greater chance of landing a prize winning fish, according to Robin Stice, festival coordinator.

“We’ve already had reports of people catching fish on the lake this winter,” said Stice, who operates the nearby Eden Valley Guest Ranch with her husband and head volunteer Pat.

Prizes for first, second and third place will be awarded for the two fish weighing the most. If no fish are caught participants names will be drawn and the top prizes will be awarded anyway. Other prizes will be given for the mystery weight, smallest fish and oldest angler.

Kinross Gold is again one of the major sponsors of the event. They and Princes Department Store are gold sponsors. Prince’s Department Store has donated the $500 Grand Prize in the form of a gift certificate to the store. Both Beyers Market in Tonasket and Akin’s Harvest Foods in Oroville are silver sponsors and other sponsors include Eden Valley Guest Ranch and the Camaray Motel.

Registration for the event, which is permitted by the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Department, starts at 7 a.m. at the Grange Hall or at 8 a.m. at the tent office on Sidley Lake. The price to fish is $20 for adults and $10 for youth. Fishing will take place from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In addition to the fishing, there will be food available at the lake, as well as at the Molson Grange Hall. The Molson Grange will have a pancake breakfast in the hall from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. for $7 and the Sitzmark Ski Area Volunteers will be hosting the Awards Dinner with spaghetti dinner from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. as a fundraiser for the ski hill. A dog sled demonstration by Rev. Gary Forgey is also planned for noon behind the Molson School House Museum.

Profits from NW Ice Fishing Festival are earmarked by the Chamber of Commerce to promote business and tourism, with most of the funds going to the Okanogan Borderlands Historical Society to help operate the Visitor Information Center at the Depot Museum in Oroville.

David Graybill, the author of the column The Fishin’ Magician, will be helping out again this year, according to Stice.

Arts and crafts booths, games and music will take place in the hall throughout most of the tournament. Anyone interested in setting up an information booth about their business or an arts and crafts booth or who wishes to play music should contact Stice at (509) 485-4002.