Derby FAQS

Do you have a question about the Great Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby? What do you need to know?

These are some of the questions we’ve received recently.

If you have a question you’d like to have answered and do not see it posted here,

please email us at or

you can call us at 603-279-7600.

You can also visit our Facebook page!

How Many tip-ups can I use while ice fishing?

On Lake Winnipesaukee, you are allowed only two (2) traps (lines) and this is also when fishing other “lake trout and salmon” lakes.  On other lakes & ponds the rule is six (6) traps (lines) per person when ice fishing. Exceptions:  Ice anglers are limited to 5 lines while ice fishing on NH-Maine border waters – except Great East Lake, which has a 2-line limit.  Also, you can use six (6) cusk sticks for cusk fishing.

Where can I find lodging and restaurants in the local area for the Derby Weekend?

Contact the Meredith Chamber of Commerce (603-279-6121) or visit their website at You can also visit for additional information.

Why isn’t the Derby scheduled for the same weekend each year?

Why does the date change? Who makes the decision on the date for the Derby weekend?
The weekend date for the Derby is selected after consulting with the Meredith Rotary Club Derby Committee and local community leaders. The date is determined taking into account several other winter events including the Super Bowl, February vacation for NH and MA school systems, February holidays, etc.

How can I tell if the ice is safe?

All frozen bodies of water are to be considered potentially dangerous! Ice does not form uniformly over the entire surface of a water body. Ice thickness at one location should not be considered to be indicative of ice thickness over a whole water body or geographic region. Persons who are not personally familiar with the ice conditions should systematically and safely check the ice thickness before undertaking any activity on the ice. If you fall in, reach for solid ice, kick and roll to safety. You might consider purchasing an “ice safety pick”, an inexpensive device (worn by all Fish and Game officers) that can be purchased at most bait and tackle shops.

What happens if I catch a Salmon?

Salmon are not in season in February and should be immediately released if caught! Taking Salmon through the ice is prohibited, and it is the responsibility of the fisherman to know the difference between Rainbow Trout and Salmon. New Hampshire Fish and Game officers, who participate in the judging of the Derby, inspect each fish that is submitted to the Derby.

What happens if a fisherman with a valid Derby Ticket who is a minor win any of the top prizes?

If a valid Derby Ticket holder who is a minor (under 16 years of age) wins any prize they must have a parent or guardian present at the time the prize is awarded to accept the prize, and sign all required state and federal tax documents. The parent or guardian is responsible for submitting all IRS paperwork as required.

What happens to all the fish after the Derby? Do the fish get thrown away?

None of the fish are thrown away! Throughout the Derby, if a fisherman doesn’t want the fish that was caught it is put aside for the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. All unwanted and/or non-winning fish are picked up by the Science Center on the Sunday of Derby weekend, following the grand prize award ceremony. The fish are used to feed the otters, ospreys, and other creatures at the Science Center throughout the winter … delectable treats like Trout-sicles! The osprey particularly like Perch!

Can you win the top prizes by entering any fish species?

The Fishing Derby rules enable any fisherman to win the top prizes, but certain fish are excluded from being entered especially salmon. Please read Derby Rules in the printed brochure and also on this website regarding acceptable sizes for each species.

How can I win one of the cash drawings? Do I have to fish?

Everyone who purchases a Derby ticket is eligible to win cash prizes throughout the weekend. The Derby ticket is a multi-part ticket, and one part of each numbered ticket is put into a bin for all of the cash drawings. Additionally, when a ticket is pulled and the winner announced, the ticket is returned to the bin for the additional drawings, so each ticket holder has many chances to win cash throughout the weekend.

Where can I purchase a Derby ticket?

Derby tickets are available on-line on this website for purchase at All on-line tickets will be emailed or mailed to the address provided when the ticket is purchased. Please make sure you provide the name/address/phone for each person when buying multiple tickets. When the date of the Derby is one week away, all tickets purchased on-line will be held at Derby Headquarters in Meredith and will be available for pickup beginning at 8AM the Friday of Derby weekend. Additionally, fishermen can purchase tickets at the Meredith Chamber of Commerce on Route 3 at the corner of Mill Street, or they can send a check for $40/per ticket to The Meredith Rotary Club, PO Box 1210, Meredith, NH 03253. Tickets will also be available at a variety of bait/tackle shops throughout New Hampshire beginning in November.

What lake can I fish?

Any State of New Hampshire public water… no private bodies of water. Please refer to NH RSA 271:20.

What are the times I can fish for the Derby?

The Saturday and Sunday of each Derby weekend. Please refer to the DERBY RULES page.

Cusk feed at night. When can I set my lines?

Since Cusk are known to feed after dusk, it is permitted for anglers to set lines on the Friday evening of Derby weekend. However, all fish submitted for consideration for prizes must be caught after midnight to be eligible.

How will I know if my fish is big enough to win?

During the Derby weekend you can to here ( )  to see the virtual fish board, min-max list, latest cash drawing raffle winners, and more.

How will I know if I am a winner?

We’ll call you if you win and also post the winners on this website. Winners can pick up their check at Derby HQ or we can mail you your check. Any checks not picked up by 4 pm on Sunday will be mailed. Make it easy — let us mail your check and save the trip to Derby HQ!