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As weather clears, Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby draws crowd

MEREDITH - While thousands of fishing enthusiasts filled the ice of Meredith Bay during the Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby on Saturday, not everyone came to fish.

Sandy Frost let the afternoon sun beam through her patio doors as she sat comfortably on her small Bay View Cabin couch, watching the anglers, snowmobile and ATV drivers drive by. Later, she sat on the front porch of the 8-by-8-foot house, soaking up the sun.

"I didn't get a fishing license this year," she said. "Today I'm just enjoying everybody having fun."

There were lots of smiles and laughs on Meredith Bay Sunday, as outdoor enthusiasts and others had grills, beer kegs, and a host of vehicles among the village of almost 100 bob houses in the final day of the derby.

It was a huge change from Saturday, when ice-cold temperatures, heavy winds and the fresh nor'easter snow covered much of the bay.

Sunday's warmer temperatures and lack of wind made for a much better experience, attendees said.

It was a banner year for bob houses, especially compared to last year, when the derby was held despite a lack of ice on Meredith Bay.

Frost, of Meredith, has been a competitor in the derby in past years, but said she and her husband decided to set up their home-built bob house, which they have owned for several years, this year for use as a station for snowmobiling fun on the ice.

One of her neighbors also had an unusual house. Bruce Peterson of Meredith had his "castle" bob house up. He bought the house a few years ago from a friend who used to use it on Squam Lake.

Unlike Frost's house, Peterson's has a hole in the floor in which to fish. But like Frost, Peterson was on the ice for the fun of it.

"I'm not a good fisherman," said Peterson, who says he's been fishing in the derby for 14 years.

"I just do it to be with the people out here, you can't beat the people out here."

A few houses over, Matt Cote of Meredith had his two-story, three-hole bob house, but sat by his woodstove inside. His second story is a loft for sleeping.

"I'm having a blast, I always do here," Cote said.


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