Fish, dip and partake of winter fun

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An ice fishing shack sits on Sebago Lake near the Standish boat launch.

LAKES REGION — Winter is heating up in the Lakes Region, with numerous seasonal events lined up across the area.

The 17th annual Cumberland County and Sebago Lake Ice Fishing Derby sponsored by the Sebago Lake Rotary Club will be held Sunday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25. All legal waters in Cumberland County are part of the derby, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Entry fees are $25 for individuals and $35 for families. Registration is available online or at Sebago Bait in Windham and Jordan’s Store in Sebago. The Sebago Lake Rotary Club says that there will be an early registration event at Deckhouse Tavern in Windham on Feb. 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

This year’s prize pool will include a 2018 Polaris ATV and a Mercury outboard motor, along with the offer of a $100,000 prize for a state record togue caught on Sebago Lake.

The derby’s after party and awards will be held Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Windham Indoor Shooting Range.

A polar dip for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program also will be part of the derby, taking place at noon on Feb. 24.

The Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce is hosting its own junior fishing derby as part of its annual Winter Carnival Saturday, Feb. 17.

The derby on Highland Lake in Bridgton is limited to ages under 16 and is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

Other activities will include dog sled rides, horse-drawn wagon rides, a 1 p.m. “Freezin for a Reason” polar dip, ice bar and fireworks scheduled for 6 p.m.

The Greater Bridgton Lakes Region chamber will be selling winter carnival T-shirts and buttons, and sales of soup, chili and hot dogs will benefit the Lions Club.

A “free snowmobile weekend” is planned from Jan. 26-28 where people from outside Maine can snowmobile in the state without paying registration fees as long as they have a valid registration in the state or province they are from.

“With the increased traffic anticipated during the free snowmobile weekend, we remind all riders to obey laws of prudent operation, do not drink and drive, and be mindful that this is a family sport, so please keep our trails safe,” Maine Warden Service Colonel Joel Wilkinson said in a press release about the event. “Pay extra close attention to ice conditions on all Maine waterways especially when traveling at night, and ride with caution. We hope that enthusiasts participate in these great opportunities to discover Maine’s tremendous snowmobiling opportunity.”

For those looking to enjoy snowy trails by foot, several local groups are hosting moonlight treks.

The Presumpscot Regional Land Trust will hold an annual full moon snowshoe event at Randall Orchards in Standish. The trek is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27. The walk is about a mile and will take approximately 2 hours. Hot cider and apples will be served after. The event is free but participants must RSVP with the land trust.

The Royal River Conservation Trust is holding a similar full moon trek on Thursday, Feb. 1 at Pisgah Hill in New Gloucester. The free and self-guided event is from 5-8 p.m. and the trust’s website says that “marsh mellows and more” will be provided when people gather at the summit. According to the trust, the parking lot at the trail head is small and vehicles will be “asked to line the shoulder of Dougherty Road.”

An ice fishing shack sits on Sebago Lake near the Standish boat launch.

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