Anglers hit the ice to benefit a clean and healthy Lake Champlain

Published: Feb. 20, 2021 at 7:28 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 22, 2021 at 4:07 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Anglers took to the ice Saturday on Missisquoi Bay for a good cause in an event for the family where they could socially distance. The second annual Clean Water Ice Fishing Derby in Highgate Springs was hosted by Mill River Brewing.

The proceeds go to making sure the water is pure with the restaurant’s partnership with the Friends of Northern Lake Champlain.

“We need clean water to make great beer, but we also need clean water to have great fishing,” said David Fitzgerald of Mill River Brewing.

To date, they have raised nearly $10,000 for their Clean Water Initiative. That money goes to things like doing lake and shore assessments, and outreach with communities to help everyone do their part to help keep the lake healthy.

“So everybody can enjoy the water and fish in the winter and the summer and clean water is just important for recreation and supporting the Lake Champlain and the local economy,” said Tom Briselden of the Friends of Northern Lake Champlain.

For this fishing derby, the anglers could only catch perch, with some reeling in a few weighing nearly a pound on Saturday.

“The idea behind it just being one species is it’s more family-friendly. I don’t want to say it’s less competitive but what we are seeing is kids get all excited about just catching a small perch so that excitement just translates to everyone having a good time,” said Fitzgerald.

Aaron Ede and his family were out on the lake trying to catch a big one. “We wanted to come down and actually get out as a family and do something that’s not only fun but may cause a difference, too,” said Ede.

The girls in the family even were in second place in a couple of categories after the weigh-in. Ede says it’s all about being together as a family... and making sure the lake stays clean.

“I’ve been in Vermont, Franklin County my whole life and I’ve seen the lakes change and the rivers change and people just not picking up after themselves and stuff so we don’t want to go down that route because future, we want this to be there for them, too,” said Ede.

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