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Bass Lake Ice Fishing Contest set for Feb. 21

Mike Reich (right) of River Falls caught this 1.1-pound northern pike at last year’s Bass Lake Ice Fishing Contest. He was the third place winner. (Photo by Sarah Young)

Although snowmobilers are lamenting the lack of snow this winter for their sport, ice fishing enthusiasts can rest assured there is plenty of ice for the 11th annual Somerset Youth Athletic Association Bass Lake Ice Fishing Contest, which is set for Saturday, Feb. 21, from noon to 3 p.m.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. The Adult Division costs $30 per hole; Youth Division (15 years old and younger) is $10 per hole. Online pre-registration is now open at basslakecontest. com. Register by Feb. 14 and save $10 per hole for adults.

The contest is known across the region for its variety of prizes, worth more than $35,000 this year, plus a $5,000 cash grand prize. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised go to Somerset youth athletics.

Last year, John and Bobbi Melvin, spokespeople for the contest, credited 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 $5,000 cash grand prize comes from raffle ticket sales and registration fees.

The contest used to be held in late February, but a couple of years ago, the event was moved to late January. This year the event is back to late February.

According to the contest website, the angler who registers the largest fish by weight regardless of species will win the $5,000 grand prize. Only game fish, such as northern pike, walleye, crappie, bluegill, sunfish, perch and bass, are eligible to be weighed in for contest prizes. Bullheads and carp are not eligible.

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. Raffle winners must be present to win.

Somerset football coach Bruce Larson will be on hand to greet people, John said. Larson recently attended the Super Bowl as the NFL National High School Coach of the Year.

Holes are pre-drilled by contest volunteers the morning of the event. Anglers can fish up to three holes each. Sonar devices such as 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, soda and food, according to the website.

Last year, contest winners included Josh Nelson of New Richmond (grand prize); Cole White of Grantsburg (second place); Mike Reich of River Falls (third place); and Logan Parnell of Somerset (youth grand prize).

Parking is available on the ice. If the contest is canceled for any reason, it will automatically be scheduled for the following week, according to the website.

For more information, to preregister 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 Feb. 14.

Full-price registration will be available on the ice the day of the contest, or stop by General Sam’s in Somerset to purchase holes before heading out to the lake.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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