SARANAC LAKE - "Dealing with the elements" - that's what Saranac Lake outdoors enthusiast Walt Farmer and nearly 200 more hardy people did over the weekend as participants in the 27th annual Colby Classic Ice Fishing Derby.
They faced driving winds and pouring rain throughout Saturday. Then Sunday started in a downpour that quickly turned to heavy snow, but when the horn sounded at 4 p.m. to signal the end of fishing, quite a few participants still showed up for the awards and raffle drawings at the Lake Colby beach house.
Farmer has participated in all 27 Colby Classic events, and early Sunday he got drenched with his longtime friend Bill Vaughn while they were setting up tip-ups and baiting them with minnows.
Members of Team Farmer whoop it up in the driving snow on the ice of Lake Colby Sunday afternoon while participating in the 27th annual Colby Classic Ice Fishing Derby in Saranac Lake. The two youngsters on the team this year in the photo are Maggie Farmer and William Bentz.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
"We were already soaked at 7 a.m.," Farmer said. "It was pretty brutal this morning, but we love doing this, especially for the kids. At least this year, everybody with us caught a fish."
Farmer's young daughter Maggie had a different experience just after 7 a.m Saturday when she caught a first-place salmon that weighed 2 pounds, 4 ounces. She brought in the fish early on the first day, and her catch held up to take first place in the youth salmon division, which was worth $75.
Prizes were awarded for catches in both adult and youth divisions for salmon, trout, perch and northern pike. All fish had to be taken from the waters of Lake Colby except for northern pike, which were allowed to be reeled in from other bodies of water in the North Country.
In the youth trout division, Cedar Rivers won with a 1-pound, 1-ounce catch, and William Bentz placed second at 12 ounces. Gage Coryea won the youth perch class with a 13-ounce fish, Gavin Coryea was second at 12 ounces and Patrick Alberga placed third at 11 ounces.
Casey O'Connor won the youth pike contest with a 10-pound, 1 ounce catch, Jacob Alberga was second with an 8-pound, 12-ounce fish, and Sarah Reandeau placed third at 3 pounds, 15 ounces.
Shane Bombard took top honors in the adult trout division with a 2-pound, 6 ounce fish, Kirk Fletcher was second at 2 pounds, 1 ounce, and Eric Coryea placed third also with a 2-pound, 1-ounce fish.
Eric Coryea also won the adult salmon division with a 2-pound, 1-ounce fish, and David Cole placed second at 1 pound, 7 ounces.
Gary Ottavinia won the adult perch division with a 17-ounce fish, Stefan Charleston placed second at 1 pound, and Ryan Kelley was third with a 15-ounce catch.
Kevin Willette hauled in the biggest catch of this year's derby, winning the adult northern pike division with a 10-pound, 14-ounce catch. Logan Ratelle was second with a 10-pound, 9-ounce pike, and B.J. Riley was third at 10 pounds, 1 ounce.
(Editor's note: The spelling of Logan Ratelle's last name has been corrected.)