Fearing single-digit temperatures could combine with fierce winds to limit angler turnout last Saturday on Gull Lake, organizers of the 29th Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza were pleasantly surprised when, during the noon to 3 p.m. tournament, the gales of January never materialized — but nearly 10,000 prize-seekers did.
Among them was Gary Creger of Forest Lake, whose patience was rewarded 2 hours, 20 minutes into the contest when a 5.2-pound northern pike gobbled the sucker minnow he dangled near the lake bottom. Successfully winched to the surface and weighed and released alive at the Fishing Extravaganza’s registration tent, the northern earned Creger a new pickup truck.
Prizes were awarded for the 150 largest fish. Second place earned Darrell Smith of Delano, catching a 2.92-pound walleye, a new ATV, and similar prizes went to anglers placing 50th, 75th and 150th. The 100th largest fish, meanwhile, took home a new ice fishing wheel house.