Ice Shack Raffle Promises Better Fishing

ice shack raffle photo twoYou may win an amazing ice fishing shack. And you will definitely contribute to an improvement in Maine’s fishery.

Raffle tickets are $10 each or three for $20, and the lucky winner gets a very creatively constructed ice shack. All who buy tickets contribute to the good work of Maine’s Fishery Improvement Network (FIN).

“There have never been ice shacks whose purpose is more friendly to fish,” said Pat Sirois. “This is a great project to not only raise money but to raise awareness of the stream connectivity issues. This is a win for fish, snowmobilers, and fishermen.”

The ice shack is collapsible and easily raised once you get to your destination, without any tools. Raffle proceeds will be used to upgrade snowmobile stream crossings in order to improve fish passage and habitat connectivity.

The raffle is sponsored by the Maine Snowmobile Association (MSA), in partnership with SFI, which supports these “Fish Friendly” projects promoted by Maine’s Fisheries Improvement Network.

Tickets are on sale now through the MSA for $10 each or three for $20. You can also call 207-622-6983 and request tickets be mailed to you. All tickets must be postmarked by Dec. 20 to be included in the drawing on Dec. 30.

Sen. Tom Saviello (R-Franklin) and Ben Starrett of Topsham, each won a Fish Friendly Ice Shack in last year’s raffle to benefit Maine’s fish and other aquatic creatures. In an odd twist of fate, Starrett’s father, John, was one of the volunteers who built the ice shacks. Saviello donated his ice shack to the Wilton Fish and Game Club to help kids learn to ice fish.

I don’t do much ice fishing, so if I win, I plan to tow my new ice shack to my woodlot and use it as a hunting camp and blind. In fact, this would even make a great playhouse for the kids!

Fisheries Improvement Network

The exceptional work and leadership shown by the network of groups that make up FIN is resolving long-standing problems with improperly constructed culverts and stream crossing bridges that blocked fish from getting to their spawning grounds. You can learn more about this at

I especially like this project because the process is voluntary, allowing landowners to move at their own pace, providing them with the information and training needed to do it right, and assisting state agency staff who are too busy to do this important work.

A few years ago, as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, I worked with then-Senator David Trahan and several statewide environmental groups to enact laws and rules requiring the correct installation of culverts. In the end, we failed, primarily because it costs more money to do this right. The Maine Municipal Association was particularly strong and effective in making this argument against our efforts.

The Fisheries Improvement Network has stepped up to fill this void and solve this long-standing problem. Give them your support – and a bit of your money – and we will all be winners.

ice shack raffle photo oneHannah Maurais tries her skills jig in the Fish Friendly Ice Shack Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Franklin, donated to the Wilton Fish and Game Club last December.




George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.