Lincoln’s lakes beckon for fishing derby

Visit Lincoln and you’re likely to notice something that has helped define the town over the years.

Lincoln residents take their boat out of the water on Mattanawcook Pond in this 2006 BDN file photo

No, it’s not the shuttered paper mill.

It’s the water. Everywhere you turn, there’s a lake or a pond — more than a dozen, according to various online sources — all of which offer plenty of opportunities for recreation.

On July 22, organizers of a first-time event hope to capitalize on the region’s water resources and raise money for a local cause.

The first Sgt. Gary Gordon Open Water Fishing Derby will be staged on Saturday, July 22 on several ponds in the region. Proceeds will go to Lincoln’s Gary Gordon Veteran Center.

“We had an ice-fishing derby that I did in February, and it went pretty good,” said Karen Morrison, who is organizing the derby with David Whalen of The Lincoln News. “[We’re] trying to promote this Lincoln area because we have an abundance of lakes and natural resources and [because of] the beauty of it.”

Here are the particulars: Anglers can sign up at two locations: The Lincoln News, or the Gary Gordon Veterans Center. The fee is $30 per veteran, or $40 per non-veteran. Open waters include the Cold Stream ponds, Egg Pond, Long Pond, Stump Pond and Folsom Pond, as well as Mattanawcook Pond, which frames the downtown area. Anglers can also fish on the Penobscot River. Morrison would be happy to answer questions, and can be reached at 290-7373.

Top prizes: $300 for the largest trout or togue, $300 for largest salmon, and $300 for largest bass. The main weigh-in site is near Lincoln Motors on Mattanawcook Pond; other weigh-in locations are located at the boat landing on Cold Stream Pond, the Lincoln boat landing on the Penobscot River, and at Stump Pond.

“[The participants] have to be there on the body of water they’re going to fish at 6:45 a.m.,” Morrison said.

One warning: Organizers are running a tight ship.

“We’re running the derby very strict, with no alcohol,” Morrison said. “We’re checking the coolers [on boats before they’re allowed on the water].”

Gordon grew up in Lincoln and graduated from Mattanawcook Academy before joining the U.S. Army. He was killed in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993 in an incident that was subsequently featured in the movie “Black Hawk Down.” He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during that incident.

According to Morrison, the Master Sgt. Gary Gordon Veteran Center helps vets get access to money that they might not even know is available.

“We’re getting them their money that they deserve. Some of them come in for medical benefits and they think they don’t qualify for anything else,” Morrison said.

Share your fish tales

Last week I shared the story of Free Martin and the monster bass he caught on a Buzz Lightyear fishing rod.

The story was hilarious, and the fish was truly impressive.

In a follow-up email I received earlier this week, Martin assured me that reports of the demise of newspapers has been greatly exaggerated: He has been inundated by messages of well-wishers who saw the BDN story about his big fish.

Of course, he’s not alone. We’ve got thousands of lakes and ponds here in Maine, and every one of them is harboring a fish tale or two. When you’re on the receiving end of one of those fish-of-a-lifetime stories, I hope you’re remember us, and get in touch. Your fish tale can brighten somebody else’s day. Trust me.

And I’d love to be the one to help you share that story.

If you’ve got a story about the one that didn’t get away, send it along (with photos, please) to

Who knows? I might feature your fish tale in a future blog or column.

John Holyoke can be reached at or 990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.