An Ohio man who took third place at the recent Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza told the Star Tribune on Monday that he, together with his son and another relative who also won prizes at the contest, including a new pickup truck, caught their fish legitimately.
Ivan Lyogky, 52, of Hartville, Ohio, also said he and his family are considering legal action against the Brainerd Jaycees.
Lyogky registered a 2.89-pound northern pike at the contest, winning a $1,000 check. His son, Stephan, also of Hartville, Ohio, claimed the event’s first prize, a new GMC pickup, by catching a 3.10-pound northern pike.
Another relative, Rostik Lyogky, 23, took 98th place in the competition with a perch weighing 1.07 pounds, winning a certificate good for a new ice auger.
The truck’s title, as well as the check and the auger certificate are on hold, contest organizers say, until the three men pass lie detector tests.
Contest rules provide that competing anglers must take the tests if asked in order to claim their prizes.
The truck is with Stephan Lyogky in Ohio.
Shane Meyer, chairman of the charity fishing contest founded in 1991, said last week the organization had contracted with lawyers in Minnesota and Ohio to determine whether the catches were legitimate.
It’s the first time in the contest’s 28-year history that an investigation of this magnitude has been undertaken. Meyer stressed his group has no proof that anything untoward happened at this year’s contest, held on Hole-in-the-Day Bay of Gull Lake, just north of Brainerd.
Meyer indicated that suspicions about possible misdeeds were raised during the contest, but didn’t say whether the Lyogkys were involved.
However, within a short while after the noon-3 p.m. contest ended, the Brainerd Jaycees received a detailed list dating to 2012 of past ice-fishing contests Ivan Lyogky and some other family members allegedly entered, along with fish they allegedly caught.
The Jaycees don’t know who compiled the list, Meyer said, and his group couldn’t confirm its complete accuracy. But someone, he said, obviously was aware of the Lyogkys’ entry in the 2018 contest, as well as previous iterations of the same competition.
The same list was sent to the Star Tribune.
About 12,000 anglers entered the Brainerd event this year, with prizes awarded to anglers catching the 150 largest fish.
Of the top 150 fish, 135 were tullibees, with 11 walleyes also registered, as well as three northern pike and one perch.
Stephan and Ivan Lyogky registered two of the three northerns, and Rostik Lyogky registered the lone perch.
By standard measures, a 1.07-pound perch should be between 12 and 13 inches long. According to lake surveys dating to 1986, the Department of Natural Resources has never netted a perch that big in Gull Lake.
Ivan Lyogky said he and Stephan and Rostik Lyogky took the lie detector tests on Monday. The contest rules state that if “deception” is detected, anglers’ prizes might be withheld.
The Star Tribune published a story Sunday about the investigation. Attempts to reach the Ohio anglers last week by the newspaper before publishing were unsuccessful.
Ivan Lyogky said he didn’t get messages left for him until Monday morning.