Last weekend, Joe Chague of Pittsfield had his second annual ice fishing class on Laurel Lake for Sacred Heart Church Pack #20 Cub Scouts. He was assisted by friend Mark Markham also of Pittsfield. Some 15 scouts, siblings and friends showed up for the class. They were taught how to cut holes through the ice, sound the holes, set up and bait tip-ups, jig for fish, etc. Midway through the class, they stopped for cups of hot chocolate and hot dogs.
They had a great time and were unaffected by a couple of snow squalls that passed through. Although none of them caught fish of their own, they got to see and handle some nice white and yellow perch caught by Mark. He caught them using a jigging stick as well as on tip-ups.
Some parents had a thrill, too, and perhaps learned a thing or two about ice fishing. Joe had several different types of tip-ups on display; from very old to new Y2K compliant. I set up a tip up that was probably made in the 1930’s. It was a single piece tip-up with no reel, the kind that I learned to ice fish with when I was a kid. You can well imagine the thrill when that flag went up and I caught a pickerel. Never thought I would ever catch another fish on such a tip-up again.
As the picture indicates, these kids really got into this sport. Did you ever see 15 excited kids racing to respond to a tip- up? Well, don’t get in their way.
Such events as this and the R.O.P.E.S. (Respect Other People Encouraging Self-esteem) ice fishing derby are wonderful ways to get kids (and parents) outdoors and interested in ice fishing. *****
Some 46 coyotes were entered into Dave’s Sporting Goods Coyote Contest this year, and the winners were as follows: Carl Dolle of North Adams bagged the most coyotes with a tally of 22. He also got the heaviest one which weighed 46 ½ lbs. Cliff Briggs of Great Barrington won the random raffle. If Carl’s name sounds familiar, it is because he bagged the largest coyote in last year’s contest, one weighing 50 lbs. In the 2013 contest, Carl got the most coyotes with a tally of 24, and in 2012, he bagged the most coyotes with a tally of 16. Do you think that maybe he knows what he is doing? *****
Governor Baker recently appointed former State Representative George Peterson, from Grafton, as Commissioner of the Department of Fish & Game. Peterson served 10 terms in the House before deciding to not run again in 2014. Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, who served with Peterson in the House, also appointed Mary-Lee King deputy commissioner of Fish and Game. This announcement came as great news to sportsmen statewide.
“As an avid outdoorsman and former commercial fisherman, George will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience as well as a unique understanding of the issues most important to sportsmen and commercial fishermen across the Commonwealth,” said Beaton. “I am honored to lead the DFG, and look forward to upholding the Department’s ongoing commitment to the protection of the Commonwealth’s wildlife, open space, and outdoors educational programs,” said Peterson. King previously held the title of Legislative Director for the DFG, and worked as a chief policy advisor for former Gov. William Weld and chief of staff to then-Sen. Paul Cellucci. *****
Getting that urge to go fly fishing? Well, this Friday evening, the Taconic Chapter of Trout Unlimited is hosting an International Fly Fishing Film Festival at the Berkshire Hills Country Club, 500 Benedict Road, Pittsfield. You are invited to see some of best rated fly fishing videos of 2014 taken from around the world. You are encouraged to bring the whole family.
Doors open at 6:30 PM and the film will be shown at 7 PM. The cost is $12 for advanced tickets or $15 at the door. The first 45 attendees will receive a free copy of Stonefly Magazine. There will be a 50/50 raffle and a handmade 9’ 4wt fly rod will be given out as a door prize. Refreshments will be available. Tickets can be obtained by calling Bill Travis 413-447-9720, by contacting any Taconic TU Chapter Board member, (listed on its website http://www.taconictroutunlimited.org, under “Members”) or on-line at: www.THEF3T.com and search for the date.