Gull Lake takes on the ice-fishing masses

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 20, 2014 - 1:56 AM
hide

Anglers filled every fishing hole during the 21st Annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravanganza at Gull Lake in 2011. Over 10,000 anglers took part in the event that benefits area charities.

When about 10,000 anglers trudge onto Gull Lake next Saturday near Brainerd for the world’s largest ice-fishing contest and a chance to win more than $150,000 in prizes, they’ll immediately face a key decision:

Fish shallow or fish deep?

“If you want to catch a big fish and win the tournament, your odds are better in deeper water — the history of our catches have proved that,’’ said Bob Slaybaugh, 47, who has been a volunteer with the Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza for its entire 24-year history.

“But if you just want to catch a fish, Gull is loaded with small walleyes 13-14 inches, and those will win a contest prize,’’ he said. “They are typically hanging out in the weed edge or inside the weeds from 18 to 22 feet deep.’’

Two years ago, Luke Botzek, 30, of Foley, Minn., chose to fish deep.

It was a smart move.

He landed a 6.4-pound walleye, a beauty that won him the top prize — a new four-wheel drive pickup. It was his first time fishing the event, and he caught the monster in 60 feet of water using a minnow.

“A lot of it, honestly, was perseverance and luck,’’ Botzek said last week. He used a borrowed fishing rod and had no electronic fish-finding equipment.

“My buddies marked fish about eight feet off the bottom with their Vexilar, so I reeled up about that far,’’ Botzek said.

“I felt a tug and set the hook hard. I thought I had a tullibee.’’

Instead he had a lunker — and a new truck.

“It was an awesome experience,’’ he said.

If you’ve got your eye on that new pickup, know that it generally will take a fish as big as Botzek’s to win top prize.

“On a good year, with consistent weather, it’s typically going to be a six- to eight-pound walleye that will win it,’’ Slaybaugh said. “Hole in the Day Bay [where the contest is held] has good structure and is real conducive to big walleyes. Typically, the largest ones come from 40 to 55 feet.’’

Whatever bites

Of the 23 contests held since 1991, walleyes have won 12 times, northerns and burbot, also called eelpout, have each won five times and a 2.2-pound tullibee won in 2006.

Last year, Bror Linnerooth, 23, of Brainerd, won the contest with a 4.4-pound northern he caught in 35 feet of water with a fathead minnow impaled on a red hook.

“I was fishing for whatever would bite,’’ said Linnerooth. “I had six-pound test line with no leader, so I was lucky he didn’t break my line.’’

  • related content

  • Anderson: DNR fisheries chief addresses walleyes on Mille Lacs

    Wednesday January 22, 2014

    New Minnesota DNR fisheries chief Don Pereira tries to answer the unanswerable: What’s wrong with Mille Lacs walleyes?

  • Chart: How to jump-start Mille Lacs

    Saturday January 18, 2014

    dnr Mille Lacs recover plan• Consider liberalizing smallmouth bass and northern pike bag limit restrictions to reduce predation of young...

  • Joe Goble of Fort Ripley MN. brought all the comforts of home as he fished from a recliner in 2012 at the l Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Gull Lake in Brainerd.

  • Approximately 10,000 ice fishing anglers brave high winds and snow to...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta 11:35 AM
Cincinnati - D. Axelrod
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda 12:08 PM
Detroit - K. Lobstein
Colorado - J. Lyles 2:45 PM
San Francisco - Y. Petit
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - B. Norris
Atlanta - M. Minor 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. Niese
Cleveland - C. Carrasco 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - J. Danks
Minnesota - T. Milone 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Guthrie
Texas - N. Tepesch 7:10 PM
Houston - C. McHugh
Oakland - S. Gray 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Wilson
Atlanta 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 6:02 PM
ULM
Boise State 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Gophers do in their football opener?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close