Those attending this year’s Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Jan. 21 on Gull Lake better keep their fingers crossed.
Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl and Sgt. Scott Goddard Thursday checked the ice conditions on Gull Lake and found 11 inches of ice in the tournament area. Dahl said the sheriff’s office goal is to have 16 inches — or 5 more inches — of ice throughout the tournament area before the event. Dahl said they’re hopeful the ice requirements will be met, however, the long-range forecast does not indicate extremely cold temperatures. The record high Thursday was 50 degrees.
A statement on the Jaycees website states, “We recognize that the mild weather conditions are concerning and we are monitoring contest site conditions carefully but are confident in the quality of the ice. The Brainerd Jaycees plan to hold the contest as scheduled on Jan. 21 but should any event changes be necessary, an update will be published approximately seven days prior to the event date.”
Organizers need to receive an event permit from the sheriff’s office before the contest is a go.
The Extravaganza has attracted more than 10,000 anglers to Gull Lake’s Hole-in-Day Bay for the past 21 years and last year Gov. Mark Dayton took part in the contest. It takes three days to set up the event site which becomes the second largest city in Crow Wing County that day. There will be approximately 20,000 holes pre-drilled for the anglers to choose from. Official information, tickets and current updates may be found at www.icefishing.org.
Dahl said even though the ice appears to be consistent in quality and thickness, the sheriff’s office is still asking the public to be aware that there is still open water on Gull Lake and to use extreme caution when venturing out on all area lakes.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.