BRAINERD — From tournament veterans to those with a “fishing bucket list,” it’s time to gear up for the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza, returning to Gull Lake Hole-in-the-Day Bay on Saturday January 29, for its 31st annual charity tournament.
As the Jaycees continue to get closer and closer to bringing thousands of their closest friends back onto the ice again for the Ice Fishing Extravaganza, Brainerd Jaycees 2022 President Andrew Jay said he hopes everyone will be returning to Gull Lake for this year’s in-person ice cream. fishing contest because the “ice looks good”.
“It’s hard to know what to expect…the outdoor industry has exploded over the past two years,” Jay said. “There’s nothing in stock, from fishing houses to trucks and everything, you know, it’s all so picked out. So we have so many new anglers who are going to come and join us as well.”
The tournament is scheduled from noon to 3 p.m. on January 29 on Gull Lake, with tickets available for purchase for $50 at all Fleet Farm locations through January 29. Entrants and guests may enter the tournament area through a checkpoint after 8:00 a.m. on the day of the contest.
There is also a “catch of the day” sticker that can be added to any ticket for an additional $5.
The Extravagant Catch of the Day Prize is an additional contest within the tournament that gives participants a chance to win an ice fishing prize worth nearly $9,000. The “mystery species” catch of the day will be announced the week before the event.
Each competitor will be allowed to fish one hole, per ticket, and is allowed a maximum of two holes.
“A lot of it is going to be pretty similar to what people have expected in the past, you know, we’re doing a lot of the same things, a lot more vendors this year,” Jay said. “Looks like we’ll have a really good selection of food and, you know, even stuff for sale there too.”
In his last days of preparation, there is only one thing left on his mind: ice cream.
“We have already been in contact with the sheriff and they are aware of the ice conditions. … The ice cream looks good,” Jay said.
Ice chisels are recommended as the holes are all pre-drilled.
Sheena Zieglar, Chief Marketing Officer of Brainerd Jaycees, said that since the contest began, the Jaycees have given back nearly $4 million to the community through their volunteer work.
“I guess (we have) over 150 to 200 volunteers on the ice,” Zieglar said. “From checking people in to helping with teardowns, our team of volunteers is amazing every year, but we can always use more.”
For Jay and the Jaycees, watching it all come together is the most exciting part. To see everyone get off the bus and run to find their lucky hole, “the whole day of atmosphere, it’s something else”.
Tickets can be purchased online at icefishing.org/shop or at any Fleet Farm store before January 29. To find more information or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, visit icefishing.org.
A new ice fishing tournament:
Prior to the in-person tournament, the Brainerd Jaycees will host America’s Ice Fishing Tournament, a new sister event to the Ice Fishing Extravaganza which is hosted virtually through the FishDonkey app.
Throughout the app, entrants will upload photos of their fish – walleye, northern pike, crappie, perch and sunfish as eligible species – and they will be scored on a points-based system, giving a maximum of 100 points for a perfect fish.
Participants will still need to use a commercially available bump board or measuring board, but with the point system, a 100-point sunfish will beat a 90-point north. If a tie breaker is required, the first registered fish would win.
The tournament is open to all ice fishing anglers across America on January 22, 2022, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. All proceeds from the event are donated to charity.
The tournament’s top prize is also an F-150 truck or $25,000 in cash.
Registration and more information for the national tournament can be found at virtualicefishing.org or on Facebook.
TIM SPEIER, editor, can be reached on Twitter
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