Bass Lake Fishing Contest just around the corner
With all the Arctic air, the ice should be good and strong for the 10th annual Bass Lake Ice Fishing Contest Saturday, Jan. 25. According to event planners, the ice is 20 inches thick.
The contest is one of the region’s most popular ice fishing tournaments, probably due to the multitude of coveted prizes, worth more than $40,000. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to Somerset youth athletics.
According to John and Bobbi Melvin, spokespeople for the contest, there were 1,800 entrants last year. This year they’re expecting 2,000 hopeful anglers. More than $15,000 was raised last year for the youth athletic programs.
The Melvins credit loyal community members for the tournament becoming the largest one in northwestern Wisconsin. Event organizers partner with Ardisam of Cumberland, an outdoor products design and manufacturing company, to provide the prizes, Bobbi said.
The $10,000 cash grand prize comes from raffle ticket sales and registration fees.
The contest used to be held in late February, but the event was moved to late January a couple of years ago.
“It seems to work better for us being able to staff the event,” Bobbi said. “Changing the date hasn’t impacted participant attendance.”
Mike Kurre of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will emcee the event this year.
According to the contest website, the angler who registers the largest fish by weight regardless of species will win the $10,000 grand prize.
Many other prizes are up for grabs, including ice augers, tree stands and ice shacks. The youth division of the contest has a separate list of prizes, which include a tree stand, tip-ups and an ice fishing shack.
Holes are pre-drilled by contest volunteers the morning of the event. Anglers can fish up to three holes each. Sonar devices like Vexilars and Marcums are allowed, but cameras are not.
No windbreaks or shelters of any kind are allowed, according to the website, so dress warmly.
Bringing your own food and beverages is highly discouraged because it is a fundraising event. Concession carts and a stand serve beer, pop and food, the website reads.
Last year, Mike Tarman won the grand prize with a three-pound northern pike. Second place went to Mike Johnson with 1.8-pound northern pike. Third place was awarded to Cole Germain, who caught a 1.2pound northern pike.
Parking is available on the ice. Registration begins at 9 a.m. The contest runs from noon until 3 p.m. Holes cost $30; $10 for youth. Money can be saved by pre-registering.
If the contest is canceled for any reason, it will automatically be scheduled for the following week, according to the website.
For more information, topre- register and for a full list of prizes and contest rules, visit basslakecontest.com. Contestants can also pre-register at Russell’s Sport in Star Prairie and B&J Hardware in Somerset by Jan. 18.