It's fishing derby time!

It appears the recent cold snap froze more than the water pipes in my home ... area lakes are buttoned up as well, like a fine Italian dress shirt.

The lower end of Lake Champlain and nearly all its bays are now fishable, as is the majority of Lake George. The smaller lakes are well frozen, though some are difficult to navigate because of snow and slush. Popular fishing destinations like Lake Eaton, Long Lake, Raquette Lake, Indian Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, Eagle Lake, Paradox Lake, Brant Lake and Schroon Lake also hold fishable ice.

As a result, a handful of ice fishing tournaments loom in the region, including those in Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, Schroon Lake, Hague and Pilot Knob.

The Northern Challenge - Feb. 5

TUPPER LAKE - Hundreds of fisherman from throughout the Northeast are expected to converge on Lake Simond this weekend for the Northern Challenge Ice Fishing Derby sponsored by the Tupper Lake Rod and Gun Club and the Adirondack Regional Federal Credit Union.

The only thing larger than the turnout for this great derby are the prizes, which range from two new four-wheelers to hourly cash awards of $800 for fish that are caught.

Entrants are encouraged to pre-register on Friday, Feb. 4 from noon until 10 p.m. at the Tupper Lake Rod and Gun Club located on Lake Simond Road, or anglers can register the day of the derby starting at 3 a.m. through the end of the day.

Fishing will take place during this catch-and-release tournament from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. and prizes will be dolled out at 4 p.m.

For more information, contact organizer Dave McMahon at 359-9715.

The Lake George Chinga-Classic: Feb. 19-20

PILOT KNOB - The popular Lake George Chinga-Classic, now in its 10th season, will have a new twist this year. Organizers YMCA Camp Chingachgook and FISH307.com have this year partnered with the Northeast Ice Fishing Tour to add a competitive panfish derby to the event.

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