ice fishing

A participant in the 2019 ice fishing event shows off a fish.

MOLSON – The 16th annual Northwest Ice Fishing Festival on Jan. 18 promises to bring several hundred people to the lakes in the north end of Okanogan County.

The event is sponsored by Oroville Chamber of Commerce and hosted by the Molson Grange.

There are prizes for adult and youth competitors.

Registration starts at 7 a.m. at the Molson Grange, 520 Molson Road.

Fishing starts at 8 a.m. and runs to 3 p.m. on Sidley Lake.

There are activities all day in the warm Grange Hall, including a traditional arts and crafts fair, bingo and new Makerspace activities for children.

At the lake, an ice hut contest is planned.

Last year, 100 anglers registered, with five catching their limit of five fish on Sidley Lake and 25 catching at least one fish.

The total weight of 63 fish caught was 63.75 pounds.

Tying for biggest fish were Kirstin Williams and Dawn Lawson, each with a three-pound, 2.6-ounce trout.

Last year the Molson Grange served more than 160 pancake breakfasts.

At the lake, a warming fire was maintained by the Molson-Chesaw Fire Department, which also put danger signs on some of the ice. Ferry County EMS provided coverage for a second year in a tow.

The Okanogan County road crew cleared the road west of town and the side of the road for parking at the lake.

“It is that time of year again when over 300 people converge on this historical community of 35 for some outdoor adventure and fun,” said Oroville chamber President Karen Frisbie. “For those who wish to stay warm, there are activities inside the Grange all day; the traditional arts and crafts fair, Makerspace activities for the kids, a silent auction and the return of Joyful Thai for lunch, combined with visiting with friends new and old and, of course, you can’t forget the ice hut contest.”

“The (fish catch) daily limit was raised by the (state) Department of Fish and Wildlife to daily catch limits of five,” Frisbie said. “Anglers from as far away as Michigan make the trip for this annual event.

“One of the most important pieces of this tournament is continuing the tradition of our outdoor sportsman culture while bringing friends and neighbors out in the middle of winter to experience our amazing natural resources,” she said. “We could not make these events happen with you and our sponsors.”

The Oroville chamber handles the logistics, sponsorship and registration of the event and can be reached at 509-557-5165 with any questions. Information about arts and crafts and the Grange breakfast is at 509-485-2343. The Oroville Public Library is bringing Makerspace activitie.

The chamber is also organizing a silent auction to help youth get an awning for the Okanogan County Fair to show their feathered friends under, and the Sidley Aerator for electric and maintenance.

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