Ryan Lovejoy Jr., 6, caught the largest fish in the Winterfest Ice Fishing Derby held at Number One Pond in Sanford on Saturday — a big, 19 inch pickerel. He is shown here with his proud Dad, Rya Lovejoy, left, and Glenn “Doc” Dochtermann, who volunteers at the event ever year. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

SANFORD — Ryan Lovejoy Jr., 6, was a winner twice on Saturday.

Ryan Lovejoy Jr. and his father, also named Ryan Lovejoy, return the boy's 19 inch pickerel to the waters of Number One Pond after catching it on Saturday. The derby kicked off Winterfest, Sanford Parks and Recreation Department's vacation week series of events. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

Ryan Lovejoy Jr. and his father, also named Ryan Lovejoy, return the boy’s 19 inch pickerel to the waters of Number One Pond after catching it on Saturday. The derby kicked off Winterfest, Sanford Parks and Recreation Department’s vacation week series of events. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

His first win was the fact he caught the first fish of the day, an 8 3/4-inch perch, as Sanford Parks and Recreation rolled out its annual Winterfest, a week-long series of events and daycamps designed to keep the young ones busy during school vacation week.

Catching fish was the name of the game Saturday at Number One Pond in Sanford. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

Catching fish was the name of the game Saturday at Number One Pond in Sanford. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

The traditional kick-off event is an ice fishing derby at Number One Pond, and though the weather had been mild for the last several days, the temperatures were below freezing Saturday morning and just fine for attempting to catch that elusive fish. 

Winners at tghe Sanford Winterfest kids' fishing derby were Alex Campbell, Ronan Benson, Ryan Lovejoy and Aiden Jensen. COURTESY PHOTO/Sanford Parks and Recreation

Winners at tghe Sanford Winterfest kids’ fishing derby were Alex Campbell, Ronan Benson, Ryan Lovejoy and Aiden Jensen. COURTESY PHOTO/Sanford Parks and Recreation

Except for young Lovejoy, well, the fish weren’t so elusive. Not only did he catch the first fish of the day — he caught the largest.

The youngster, who was ice fishing with his dad, also named Ryan Lovejoy, was bundled up against the cold and didn’t have much to say —but perhaps he didn’t have to; the big fish — a 19 inch pickerel — said it all. 

There were other fish caught as well. Sanford Recreation Coordinator Lori Hegarty said Ronan Benson caught an 18-inch largemouth bass and Alex Campbell caught an 18-inch pickerel, tying up second place and Benson took  third place with a 17-inch pickerel. Aiden Jensen took fourth place with a 16-inch pickerel.

Glenn “Doc” Dochtermann is retired from working at Maine’s parks with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation, but continues to volunteer at this derby and a few others.

“Kids learn how to be safe on the ice, they learn fishing, and they just have a good time and they go out and appreciate the environment,” he said.

Dochtermann pointed out that he always thought ice fishing was more friendly than other forms of fishing, simply because people are out talking to others while they’re drilling a hole in the ice, and they discuss ideas on where to fish and keep an eye on each other.

“In a boat, you’re alone. On the ice, it’s a friendly thing” he said.

As to that 19-inch pickerel, “it came up to the hole and I said (to his son), let’s do this,” the elder Lovejoy said, and the youngster did.

After a careful measurement and a photo, they returned the fish, still wiggling in a bucket, back to the cold waters beneath the ice.

The Sanford Winterfest ice fishing derby wasn’t the only one scheduled for the weekend. A derby was scheduled Saturday at Little Ossipee Pond in Waterboro and the Sanford Elks planned a derby on Square Pond in Acton for Sunday to benefit the Maine Children’s Cancer Program. 

Other events for children at Sanford’s Winterfest include a week-long day camp at Carl J. Lamb School, sledding at Gowen Park, skating, a snow sculpture contest, and a number of other events — there’s a schedule at Sanford Recreation’s Facebook page.

Other communities may also have special events planned for vacation week as well — check online for events on your community.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]


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