Gene Chague: The year's ice fishing derby schedule is now available



The above is the schedule of upcoming ice fishing derbies this winter. The Lanesborough Voluntary Fire Dept. and Izaak Walton derbies have already taken place, and the Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club Echo Lake derby ends today at 1:30 p.m.

No information has been received as to whether Smitty's is having a derby this winter. Our thanks go out again this year to Paula Dailey at the Onota Boat Livery in Pittsfield for compiling the 2014 schedule of ice fishing derbies and posting them on its website. Simply log on to to access that list.

While there, check out the leaderboard in the Onota Boat Livery Ice Fishing Contest. If you are entered into that contest and catch fish smaller than a 20-pound, 1-ounce northern pike; a 5-pound largemouth bass; a 1-pound, 10-ounce perch; or a 5-pound, 9-ounce trout, throw it back -- unless, of course, you intend to eat or mount it. Actually, the leaderboard is updated frequently, and you might want to check it before going out ice fishing.

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This year, the New England Fishing and Outdoor Expo will be held on four days at the DCU Center in Worcester. The hours are as follows: Next Thursday from 3-8 p.m., Friday from 12:30-9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

It is advertised as the region's biggest, most talked-about annual fishing and outdoor sports show. Attendees can experience the latest innovations in fishing, hunting, boating and camping. They can try out the best gear, talk to top manufacturers and learn from world-class outdoor sporting professionals. Log on to for a listing of exhibits, guest speakers and more.

MassWildlife reports that they will have a booth at the Expo and will be selling hunting, fishing and sporting licenses. They will only make credit card sales (no cash or checks). Staff will be available to help people purchase their licenses.

Also, the MassWildlife Sportfishing Awards will not be presented at the DCU Center this year like they have in the past. Instead, the winners will be notified by mail, probably next week, if they won the gold pin and trophy. The awards will most likely be presented to the winners this summer in the new energy-neutral Westborough Field Headquarters building. I hope to announce the award winners in next week's column.

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Hey, tree huggers (a term of endearment), did you know that there are trees in our state that are very, very old? For example: there is a yellow birch that is 386 years old; a northern red oak that is 336; eastern hemlock, 285; white ash, 256; black birch, 255; pignut hickory, 253; American beech, 252; pitch pine, 229; red maple, 228; sugar maple, 225; white pine, 198; shagbark hickory, 197; and hop-hornbeam, 183?

According to an excellent article written by Joe Choiniere in the most recent issue of Massachusetts Wildlife magazine, they are located on Mount Wachusett in Princeton/Westminister. Most of that issue is devoted to managing our forests. If you can get a hold of that issue, it is well worth the read. Better yet, get a subscription, eight quarterly issues for $10.

Karen Kruszyna of Cheshire, last year's recipient of the Berkshire County League of Sportsman Lifetime Achievement Award, made an excellent suggestion at a recent League meeting. She suggested that each sportsmen's club check with the various town and school libraries and donate subscriptions to Massachusetts Wildlife if they are not already receiving it. I'm sure kids and adults alike will enjoy this publication.

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The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will have a prime rib and chicken marsala buffet dinner at the Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club on Saturday February 15 at 5 p.m. The cost for an individual supporting ticket is $70, which includes meal and membership in the RMEF. Couples tickets cost $105, and include two meals and one supporting membership. Many quality items will be offered through live and silent auctions, drawings and door prizes.

Contact Gary Johnston at (413) 298-3623 or Howie Wilson at (413) 528-2497 for more information. Don't delay, for there is a two-for-one early bird special on the general raffle tickets if you purchase a ticket by Feb. 8.

To reach Gene Chague:,
or (413) 637-1818.


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