Friday, February 25, 2022

2022 Ice Fishing Derby thrills anglers

Caleb Slocum of North Yarmouth caught the largest togue
during the 2022 Sebago Lake and Cumberland County Ice
Fishing Derby last weekend. Slocum's first-place catch
from Sebago Lake weighed in at 15.86 pounds and 
measured 36.5 inches in length. PHOTO BY BRIAN BOYT
By Ed Pierce

A few hours of braving the cold and icy conditions together during the Sebago Lake and Cumberland County Ice Fishing Derby last weekend helped forge new friendships among anglers and created some stories that undoubtably will be shared for a lifetime.

Sponsored by the Sebago Lake Rotary Club, the 21st year of the ice fishing derby was more than just an excuse to get outside for time spent fishing, it also was yet another successful fundraiser for charities and nonprofit organizations that the Rotary Club donates to, including “Feed the Need,” which assists with funding for 13 food pantries in the Lakes Region of Maine.

More than 800 participants tried their luck in fishing holes all over Sebago Lake and fishing ponds across Cumberland County this year in the derby as temperatures across the region dipped into the mid-20s with a light drizzle as the weekend progressed.

“There were fewer fish caught this year as fishermen mentioned the togue out of Sebago seemed to be thinner and fewer biting,” said Cyndy Bell of the Sebago Lake Rotary Club. “But contributions of fish from Sebago and all other lakes and ponds in Cumberland County were still top of mind for fishermen.”

Bell said that derby registrations have dipped about 20 percent for the past few years but attributed that to the fact that 38 other derbies were held in Maine this year on the exact same date.

“The free fishing weekend might have contributed to the increased number of derbies that weekend,” Bell said. 

Nevertheless, fishermen continued to donate their catches which were delivered to Nova Seafood and will be processed and delivered to assist in feeding the homeless and those facing food insecurity. 

Bell said that the exact number and weight of fish donated from the derby was still being compiled, but last year a total of 7,500 pounds of fish was collected, flash-frozen and donated to food pantries in the Greater Portland area.

Tom Noonan, a Sebago Lake Rotary Club member, is credited with coming up with the concept for the Ice Fishing Derby in 2001 in cooperation with the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department. 

Since then, the event has grown substantially to become the Sebago Lake Rotary Club’s largest annual fundraising initiative and has supported hundreds of charities over the past two decades, with more than $1 million donated to local causes since its inception.

“Under the leadership of Sebago Lake Rotarian Toby Pennels, the derby gained additional national notoriety as one of only four fishing derbies in the United States to be featured in a television program filmed for the National Geographic Channel that aired in June 2014,” Bell said.

Here’s a list of winners from the 2022 Sebago Lake and Cumberland County Rotary Ice Fishing Derby:

Top Prize winners

Grand Prize winner, Alex Sparks of Saco, Windham PowerSports ATV

50/50 winner, Lisa Thibault, $1,915

5HP Mercury Outboard winner, Alan Rouillard of Buxton 


First place, Caleb Slocum, 15.86 pounds, 36.5 inches

Second place, Jonathan Sarbins, 10.55 pounds, 30.5 inches

Third place, Andrew Dalton, 9.80 pounds, 32 inches


First place, Greg Lachance, 1.54 pounds, 14.5 inches

Second place, Michael Breton, 1.42 pounds, 13.5 inches

Third place, Joseph Libby, 1.36 pounds, 12 5/8 inches


First place, Devin Prue, 3.76 pounds, 25 ¼ inches

Second place, Bob Zutaut, 3.64 pounds, 24 inches

Third place, Brian Boucher, 3.5 pounds, 23 inches


First place, Ben Carlin, 9.48 pounds, 35 inches

Second place, Ben Carlin 8.8 pounds, 34 ¾ inches

Third place, Ben Carlin, 7.38 pounds, 31 inches

Ice Shack

First place, Tim O’Neal

2nd place, Sunset Paul Huchro
3rd place (tie), Dakota Dunphy
3rd place (tie), Becky Grooms <

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