The skies cleared up and the sun shone down on a fresh blanket of snow to welcome in the Knox County Fish and Game Association's annual ice-fishing derby at Beaver Lodge Sunday, Feb. 18.

Hundreds of anglers from across the state converged on Maine waters within a 50-mile radius of Beaver Lodge, hoping to pull up the day's biggest fish.

Co-chairman Michael DeMay said it was yet another successful derby. "Everyone did a great job. I'm happy to see there was a lot of beautiful fish that were brought in," he said. "And the amount of donations we received was truly overwhelming. Big thanks to our donors for their support."

This is the second year DeMay has co-chaired the event, after longtime Chairman Yvonne Drown stepped down from the role.

"We're already looking forward to next year," DeMay said. "We're going to continue to make it bigger, better and more organized. We also welcome feedback from the community on what they'd like to see. We're going to make the Beaver Lodge Derby great again."

On Sunday, the event kicked off at 5 a.m., when the last of a snowstorm was beginning to wind down. Anglers had until 5 p.m to bring in fish to be weighed. The top fish were then put on display in cages outside on the lodge's porch.

Walter Read got the honor of biggest fish for the derby, a brown trout that weighed in at 5 pounds, 7 ounces. Read received a power ice auger, an ice hut, a 5-gallon bucket with tip-ups, and a plaque.

Kristin Heal took second place with a lake trout that weighed in at 3 pounds, 9 ounces; while Devin Deabler was third overall with a brown trout weighing 3 pounds, 5 ounces. Heal and Deabler also went home with an ice-hut, 5-gallon bucket with tip-ups, and a plaque.

The top three overall winners are not eligible to be division winners.

In the adult division, the winners were:

Salmon: Josh Trott, 2 pounds, 1 ounce; Brook Trout: Joey Brann, 2 pounds, 13 ounces; Lake Trout: Connor Pease, 3 pounds, 4 ounces; Rainbow Trout: Steve Widdecomb, 3 pounds; and Brown Trout: Gabe Delano, 3 pounds, 4 ounces.

In the kids' division, the winners were:

White Perch: 1st place, Blake Owens; 2nd place, Connor Menard; 3rd place, Cora Straut.

Largemouth Bass: 1st place, Laurelai Winslow; 2nd place, Austin Lamb; 3rd place, Bode Straut.

Smallmouth Bass: 1st place, Sheldon O'Brien; 2nd place, Raven Russell. There was no third-place entry for Smallmouth Bass, so prizes were given to the fourth- place Largemouth Bass entry, Nolan Gaudreau.

Prior to the announcement of division winners a raffle was drawn, where dozens of donated items,and items purchased through monetary donations, were given out.

Ed note: Amber Abbotoni is co-chairman of the Knox County Fish and Game Association's annual ice-fishing derby.