On Saturday, January 28th, Alexandria Bay held their Annual Ice Fishing Derby. Each year Ice Fishermen (and women) and youths of all ages, will find their spots on the ice, drill a hole, place a "Pop Up" flag, and then wait for the biggest fish to bite.
Last year this area saw one of the largest Muskies caught in over 50 years. Since the Derby was for the largest Pike, the musky wouldn't have counted, so pictures were taken, the prize documented, and then the beautiful Muskie was lowered back into the icy waters.
This year the event was kicked off at A-Bay's Fire Hall, with a breakfast hosted by Alexandria Lodge #297. They cooked a breakfast in conjunction with the Ice Derby, feeding the fishermen for the day ahead. The monies collected are donated to the Student Scholarship Fund.
This year I went to three locations: Goose Bay, Lake of the Isles, and Eel Bay but there were many other locations where fishermen took advantage of safe ice conditions.
I took my daughter Katherine out on the ice with me, and showed her what to look out for. The same "safety info" I have learned over these last three years I have started to pass along to her. I consider myself still learning when it comes to the "ways of the River", and these Northern activities.
Whether it is piloting a boat, exploring the Islands, or even learning the basics of walking on Ice. I want Katherine to learn these skills as well.
Towards the end of the day, a storm system started to roll in. That night, as I was compiling my photographs and videos, I was listening to 40 knot winds while stronger gusts, pounded my house, all reminding me that nature is not always kind.
As it turned out, the January ice did not last and by mid week there was no safe ice on either side of the border.
Enjoy the pictures you River Rats, and as well, all of you Migrant Rats who run away to Florida....
By David Pritt
David lives in the 1000 Islands with his wife Kimberly, and daughters Katherine and Victoria. He retired from the Military after 27 years of both active-and-reserve duty, and used to own a cellphone store in Watertown. Kimberly's family is from Watertown and Clayton, and she is employed at the Jefferson Rehabilitation Center in Watertown. The family enjoys summer exploration of the River and learning about the history of the Thousand Islands. David has composed Christian-contemporary music and articles for faith-based magazines. He writes under several pen-names and his "nomme de plume" River Rat Doc is reserved for the images and articles he generates while living in the North Country. David also quietly helps the community by being involved with several philanthropic and fraternal groups.