Saturday started out as a 50-plus degree day and the ice coating Otisco Lake was still thick enough to hold the weight of a man.
And that's just what it did on March 7 as several fishermen took to the ice in the 3rd Annual Alvord House Fishing Derby. The competition began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and weigh-in time was held from 1 to 4 p.m. back at the bar on Main Street in Marcellus.
Out at the lake, singing birds, water flowing beneath the ice and passing traffic mixed with the gentle sounds of derby-goers' quiet in conversation. The occasional hollering of a fisherman interrupted nature's music as catch was being reeled in.
Fisherman Gary Sweet said his team headed out on the ice around 6 a.m. where they stayed until packing up to take their trout to be weighed about eight hours later. Of the 29 two-man teams, Sweet and Bob Feeter's team "Hardwater Anglers" placed third in the brown trout category. Their 22-inch catch weighed in at four pounds, 12 ounces.
According to Tournament Director Walt Kemblowski, each team was allowed to bring in two fish. Derby participants were on the hunt for tiger muskies and brown trout and each team paid out $40 to be in the competition.
"It's a 100 percent payback to the fishermen," Kemblowski said.
There was a split for the teams with the first place muskie and trout, as well as a Calcutta prize for those putting money on each team. Team "Young Guns," Michael Tross and Brian Boise, took the prize by wagering on team 24-pound, while Glenn Faber won it for the trout category when team Yeti pulled in a six-pound, 11-ounce and 24.5-inch brown trout.
Kemblowski, who has been ice fishing since he was 6 years old, and his partner were up and out on the ice at about 4:30 a.m., but were unable to catch anything.