Brainerd ice fishing contest prepares for 10,000 anglers

  • Updated: January 15, 2013 - 7:44 PM
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An angler used a sled as a wind break, trying to get shelter against the blowing winds on Gull Lake in 2012.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

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Billed as the world's largest ice fishing contest, the 23rd annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza is expected to draw around 10,000 hearty souls Saturday to Gull Lake near Brainerd.

"We're excited; the ice looks good,'' said Angie Nelson, marketing coordinator. "It was 16 inches last Thursday, and it's been really cold since then.''

Despite the contest name, Nelson said, "we are giving away over $200,000 in prizes this year.''

The event, which raises money for charity, runs from noon to 3 p.m., and tickets now are $45. For information, see www.icefishing.org.

Bragging rights

And then there was the Minnesota angler who posted a picture on his Facebook page of nearly 100 crappies on the ice, with a caption that said, "Good afternoon, I would say!'' After getting a tip about it, conservation officer Shane Osborne of Evansville contacted the fellow, who acknowledged doing something stupid -- but it wasn't catching too many fish.

"Fishing hadn't been very good for him, so he decided to take a picture off the Internet and use it as his own,'' reported Osborne.

The night before, one of his friends told him: "Don't be surprised if the DNR shows up looking for you in the morning."

Rain wipes out trails

Last week's rain wrecked ski and snowmobile trails around the state.

"Snowmobile trails are in very poor shape,'' said conservation officer Brad Schultz of Cook. Most state ski and snowmobile trails are in poor condition; some are rated fair and a couple still are rated good. Trail conditions are available at www.startribune.com/a67. The thaw and freeze is causing headaches for anglers, too: Many permanent ice fishing houses now are frozen into lakes, officers reported.

DOUG SMITH

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