In 2022, the Meredith Rotary sponsors the 43rd annual Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby on February 12-13. The Lakes Region Sled Dog Club hosts the 93rd Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby, which is tentatively scheduled for Feb 11-13. The New England Pond Hockey Classic is scheduled for Meredith on February 4-6. These events require cold weather, ice and snow, so hopefully, they will be held every year, despite global warming. Good ice conditions (8″-16″ thick) are essential to the fishing and hockey events, while plenty of snow is required for the sled dog derby.
The Weirs Beach boardwalk shows its winter appearance. Photo taken on the first day of spring – March 21, 2013.
Winter view of Weirs Bay from Cedar Lodge
ICE FISHING – BY THE NUMBERS
4-6: Minimum thickness in inches of new clear ice needed to safely walk upon. Depends on person’s weight. According to the U.S. Army Cold Research & Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, NH, the “rule of thumb” is there should be a minimum of 6″ of hard ice before individual foot travel.
The lake ice does not freeze to a uniform thickness due to areas with current, like inlets, outlets and springs. Therefore, one has to be cautious and know the areas to avoid before venturing out on the ice. Ice-claw type equipment and knowledge of the proper procedure to follow in the event one falls in is useful, but the best safety precaution is to always travel with a buddy.
8–12: Minimum thickness in inches of ice needed to safely drive upon. Varies according to vehicle and driver weight. Range maxes out with light trucks. From lightest to heaviest: For ATVs (quads), 400-500 lbs is typical. Snowmobiles weigh 500-600 lbs.
Cars average around 4000 lbs. Class 1 trucks (light pickups) can weigh up to 6000 lbs.
According to the US Army Lab, the “rule of thumb” is 8″ – 10″ of hard ice for Snow Machine or All-Terrain Vehicle travel.
12–15: Minimum thickness in inches of ice needed to safely drive medium trucks.
2: Maximum number of ice fishing holes legally allowed per person
18: Minimum length in inches for a legal “keeper” – a fish that you don’t have to throw back in
5×6: Dimensions, in feet, of a typical bobhouse – an ice fishing shack
4/1: Latest date bobhouses must be removed from the ice or pay fine and lose fishing license for 1 year!
A bobhouse on Weir Bay. Notice the Spindle Point lighthouse in the distance. Click here to enlarge.
Bobhouses on Lake Opechee, 1920s, looking toward Lakeport.
HISTORY OF WINTER EVENTS
Racing down Laconia’s Main Street in the 1960’s (color photos) and in the 1930’s (black and white photos).
While racing began in 1929, 1936 was the first “World Championship” sled dog race. A pinback button is a common memento of the race. The race course is about 20 miles long. The 1968 winner, veteran musher Dick Moulton, covered it in a then record time of 1 hour, 8 minutes and 55 seconds.
Racing down Laconia’s Main Street in the 1930’s past two local banks. The two banks shared the same building and had a common entrance. The bank on the right in the photo, the Laconia Savings Bank, existed until 2011, when it renamed itself the Bank of New Hampshire. The bank on the left in the photo, Peoples National Bank, merged on August 15, 1969, with the Laconia National Bank, forming the Laconia Peoples National Bank. Laconia Peoples eventually became the Laconia branch of Citizen’s bank.
Below, the logo of the Laconia National Bank. The wording of the logo: “Safety • Strength • Security • Since 1865”.