Tully CCC holds 30th ice fishing derby

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  • Four-year-olds Levi Hopkins and Luca Maroni during the annual Tully CCC ice fishing derby Saturday at Lake Ellis in Athol. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Owen Rich, 19, checks a line during the annual Tully CCC ice fishing derby Saturday at Lake Ellis in Athol. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Fish caught during the annual Tully CCC ice fishing derby Saturday at Lake Ellis in Athol. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Phillip Martin, 12, checks a line during the annual Tully CCC ice fishing derby Saturday at Lake Ellis in Athol. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Participants gather on Lake Ellis for the annual Tully CCC ice fishing derby Saturday in Athol. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Jeff Marshall checks a line during the annual Tully CCC ice fishing derby Saturday at Lake Ellis in Athol. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Jordan Burnham drills into the ice during the annual Tully CCC ice fishing derby Saturday at Lake Ellis in Athol. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Attendees of the annual Tully CCC ice fishing derby warm up around a fire Saturday at Lake Ellis in Athol. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Attendees of the annual Tully CCC ice fishing derby warm up around a fire Saturday at Lake Ellis in Athol. Staff Photo/Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 2/10/2019 11:10:12 PM

ATHOL — Xboxes turned off and tackle boxes taken out. It may have been a cold, windy day in Athol, but that didn’t stop a couple dozen local children from sliding out onto Lake Ellis for some good old-fashioned ice fishing. 

Saturday was the Tully City Council Club Fishing Derby, an annual event where children and adults alike take to the ice to fish for bass, perch and pickerel.

The 21 children and 48 adults who showed up pitched tents and grilled food — even played some impromptu ice hockey or snowmobiled — while waiting for the fish lurking in the dark waters below them to bite the bait. 

“Can you say what that is?” Auggy Carra asked his daughter Carmen Carra, 3, and her friend Levi Hopkins, gesturing at a bucket filled with fish.

“Yellow, hmm,” Carmen said. “Yellow perch!” 

It wasn’t their first time ice fishing, and Carmen and Levi jumped up and down on the ice gleefully while Carra pulled a flopping fish from the bucket.

Levi, just 4-years-old, pulled a bass about the length of his forearm from the depths. Just five minutes into fishing, he had caught a 6-pounder, the second biggest fish brought in by a child all day.

“Yes,” it was hard to reel in, he said triumphantly. 

According to Carra, it’s the atmosphere and seeing the children happy that makes the fishing derby a fun event. 

“We fish here pretty often,” said Carra, warming up next to a small wood fire made right there on the ice. “It’s being out here with the kids, the fire, food. The fish is extra.”

He added that the fish get brought home for all to enjoy — “Nothing gets wasted.”

At the Lake Ellis beach, the “entrance” to the event, Kevin White, an organizer with Tully CCC, helped weigh the fish on a small scale, stopping to warn people to use a makeshift path made out of a wooden pallet to get out past the mushy, wet edge of the lake and onto the thick ice. A few slipped, but caught themselves before splashing.

Those with experience, like Kent Rich and Owen Rich, had ice grips on their shoes and a tent close by. 

“It’s not a great day with the weather, but there’s still a decent turnout,” White said, referring to the wind and cold.

According to White, the event has been going on for about 30 years. Any money brought in — there was a $10 fee for those 15 and older — flows back into the club’s programming to allow more family-friendly events. 

“It’s more for the kids than anything else. It’s good to get them outside and have some fun,” White said.

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268. 


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