Free Ice Fishing Class on Melendy Pond in Brookline Feb. 8 and 9

BROOKLINE – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Let’s Go Fishing Program is offering a free ice fishing class on Melendy Pond in Brookline from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8, and Sunday, Feb. 9.

The classes have been offered throughout the state, but this is the first time one will be held here in town.

Dale Riley, a lifelong fishing enthusiast and certified fishing instructor, will teach the family friendly class. Participants can arrive at any time during the class and stay as long as they want. A fishing license is not required for this event, and all equipment will be provided.

“It’s wide open and we have no idea who will turn out,” Riley said, “but we’ll have packets of information to take home on winter fishing. We’ll be there to help to be sure people learn something and enjoy themselves.”

What kind of fish can be found in Melendy Pond? It is not deep or cold enough to sustain cold-water fish like trout or white perch, but Riley said you might catch pickerel, bass and yellow perch.

“I like to fish this type of pond,” Riley said. “You get more action than if you go for lake trout. There are plenty of kids. They have fun running around and they don’t care what kind of fish they catch as long as they catch something. When that flag goes up, we like to be sure the kids get to pull in the fish.”

Riley said he will already have some holes in the ice before the class begins, but will ask children where they think the fish might be. He and other volunteers will show them how to drill a hole, set up a tipup, bait a hook and watch for the flag to indicate a bite.

Riley plans to create a little pond in a central area in which to keep the fish that are caught. Cutting a hole and letting water trickle in will help keep the fish alive so visitors can see them and learn to identify the fish.

“At the end of the day, we’ll let them go,” Riley said. “Or, if they’re big enough to eat, I’ll teach them how to fillet a fish. We’ll cook it up and eat it right there.”

Melendy Pond is on the corner of Route 13 and Old Milford Road, with parking available on Old Milford Road. Riley hopes to have access to a heated bobhouse at the far side of the pond during the class (not the one near the boat landing), but recommends that participants dress warmly. Hot chocolate, coffee and other refreshments will be available.

Reservations are not needed for this class, but anyone with questions can contact Riley Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at 673-2987 or evenings at 673-4036.

“Hopefully people have fun and learn something,” Riley said. “That’s all we ask for. Any time you can get kids outside and have a good time is probably a good thing.”