Over 400 people attend fourth annual NCW Ice Fishing Festival

<div align= Photo by Gary DeVon

Tim Roberts from Molson was the Grand Prize winner for 2008 for his single heaviest fish of 2 lbs., 4.2 oz. A happy Roberts took home a bright yellow NuCanoe valued at over $1,100.

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Photo by Gary DeVon

Tim Roberts from Molson was the Grand Prize winner for 2008 for his single heaviest fish of 2 lbs., 4.2 oz. A happy Roberts took home a bright yellow NuCanoe valued at over $1,100.

MOLSON – Although the number of anglers was down somewhat from last year, the overall attendance at this year’s fourth annual North Central Washington Ice Fishing Festival was more than 400, according to event organizer Robin Stice.

The Grand Prize winner for 2008 was a “local,” Tim Roberts, from Molson. For his single heaviest fish of 2 lbs., 4.2 oz. Roberts took home a bright yellow NuCanoe valued at over $1,100. The newfangled, lightweight and very stable craft was donated by the manufacturer after being contacted by Ed Lawrence, owner of Extreme Adventures in Oroville.

Taking first prize in the Youth Division was 11 year-old Connor Forthun who was fishing with his grandpa Bud Forthun on Saturday. Connor’s fish weighed 1 pound, 3.5 oz. and was good enough to win him a $100 cash prize donated by Choice Auto of Omak and a $25 Gift Certificate from Yo Yo’s Restaurant in Oroville. Selah Valencia from Chelan took second place in the Youth category with her 7.3 ounce fish and won $50 donated by Harts Automotive of Oroville.

First place in the Adult division went to Shane Duffney for two trout whose combined weight was 2 lbs., 6.8 oz.. Duffney won $100 from RE/MAX Lake and Country Realty in Oroville and a $50 certificate from Yo Yo’s Restaurant. Second Prize went to Tim Sparowgrove of Tonasket. Sparowgrove’s two fish weighed in at 1 lb, 11.8 oz. He won $50 from Hedlund’s Chevrolet in Tonasket and a $50 Gift Certificate from Yo Yo’s Restaurant. Angela McCollough finished in third place and won a $50 Gift Certificate from Prince Department Store in Oroville and a $25 Certificate from Yo Yo’s Restaurant. Her two fish weighed in at 1 pound 9.5 oz..

There were also several other categories that earned prizes. The Mystery Weight, which happened to be 13.13 oz., earned Bruce Avila, from Onalaska, Wash. a 30-piece screwdriver set from Midway Building Supply. Avila’s fish came the closest to the Mystery Weight.

The Smallest Fish earned Dale Ducho from Havillah, a fishing pole, fish art, a cooler with gloves, nuts and more from Laura’s Landscape. His fish weighed a whopping 12.4 oz.. Second smallest fish received $25 from Eden Valley Guest Ranch. Dan Sidorchzuk of Oliver, B.C. took second with a fish weighing 13.7 oz.

The Eldest Fisherman, in this case 85, won a free night at The Junction in Tonasket. The prize went to Cleve (no last name provided) from Chesaw.

The Weariest Traveler, the angler that traveled the furthest to fish, got a gift basket from the Junction. The prize went to Avila from Onalaska, 441 miles away.

“Overall the fish were in excellent condition this year, with much heavier weights,” said Robin Stice, one of the event’s organizers. “There were a total of 28 fish caught by 24 people, with a total weight of 30.27 pounds.”

For those who weren’t fishing there were dog sled rides by the old Molson Schoolhouse Museum. The rides were being provided by Chesaw area residents Rev. Gary Forgey and Rick Wright and were very popular.

There were arts and crafts and lots of handmade and locally made goods available at the Molson Grange Hall all day long. The Molson Grange members served a pancake breakfast in the morning attended by some 250 hungry customers. The Molson Museum Association offered hot cocoa and lunch in the Grange hall. The festival wrapped up with a spaghetti dinner by volunteers from the Sitzmark Ski Area while awards and raffle prizes are given out.

The Once in a Blue Moon band performed throughout the day at the Molson Grange as well. The band composed of Elva Helm, Lyle and Sandy Oberg and Maurice Reichel, was joined by young local singing talent Brock Hires.

NuCanue Company, Windermere and Kinross Gold were this year’s three major sponsers. Most of the prizes were donated by local businesses. Special mention at the awards ceremony went to Stice, Vicki Hart, Nick Abellera, Ed Lawrence and Raleigh Chinn. Al Rise, president of the local sportsman’s club, was applauded for serving as this year’s judge.

The ice was thick, approximately two feet, but the weather was fairly warm after the sun came out following a chilly morning start. Most of the people trying their luck said they were enjoying themselves.

The annual festival is organized by the Oroville Chamber of Commerce as a fund raiser to help run the Oroville Visitor Information Center, a gateway into the United States, Washington and Okanogan County.