Every February the town of Meredith is the host of one of the Lakes Region’s biggest winter events – the Great Rotary Ice Fishing Derby. Each year ice fisherman from across the country congregate to see what their tolerance is for cold and frostbite. The payoff is big: first prize is an 18′ boat. So, driving along the frozen waters of Lake Winnipesaukee on this weekend is loads of fun – the lake is transformed into a metropolis of bobhouses of every shape, size, and color.
There was a great turnout this year, and Wolfeboro Bay, Winter Harbor and Nineteen Mile Bay all were crowded with people, sleds, ATVs and bobhouses. But the real fun is at the derby headquarters in Meredith – it takes on a festival atmosphere, complete with food vendors and music and ice sculptures. Hot tubs and pool tables have also been spotted. A local pizza shop set up a bobhouse and was delivering pizzas from there. It’s great fun to wander around and get a feel for the ice-fishing culture in New Hampshire.
The first year we moved here, we were eating at the Wolfeboro Inn one night and we overheard a man at the next table say to his friend, “You know what’s the most beautiful sound in the world? An ice auger at four a.m.!”
Fishermen, for sure!