More than 1,000 people took to Cobbossee Lake on Saturday for an ice fishing derby that raised $10,300 for Cony Project Graduation, an annual celebration attended by graduating Cony High School seniors in Augusta.

The June celebration is an all-night, supervised event that includes activities such as games, dancing, and spa nights, according to organizer Julie Stolt. “It’s to ensure the kids are in a safe environment the night of graduation – that they are alcohol-free, drug-free, off the roads – and they can celebrate with their classmates one last time in a safe and controlled environment,” she said.

The derby started at sunrise and ended at 3 p.m. Ice fishermen from all of the New England states, and as far away as Pennsylvania, tried their luck at winning first, second and third place cash prizes. Participants were scattered across nine-mile-long Lake Cobbossee, which encompasses the towns of Winthrop, Manchester, Monmouth, Litchfield and West Gardiner. There were two weigh stations, one in Monmouth and one in Winthrop.

Stolt said more than 200 kids registered for the event. Out of four categories, eight kids under 17 and two Cony seniors won prizes. A 12-year-old won the prize (a 48-inch trap donated by Max Trap) for the smallest fish, which weighed just 0.03 pounds, “a little bit bigger than a bait fish,” Stolt said.

“It was a wonderful day,” she said. “It was a family event. There were kids everywhere. The kids were so super excited. They were running up to the weigh station with every fish they caught to get their pictures taken and weigh in.”

First prize for the largest northern pike, which weighed in at 16.31 pounds, was $750. It was the only first place prize that went to an adult. The largest brown trout, 3.96 pounds, won a 10-year-old $350. A 16-year-old caught the largest pickerel, which weighed 4.05 pounds and netted the teenage fisherman $350. And the largest pan fish, weighing in at 1.63 pounds, won a Cony senior $500 – a good start on college tuition.


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