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Nisswa man is the big winner of the ice-fishing extravaganza

A portion of the approximately 10,000 anglers who competed in the 24th Annual Br1 / 6
Art Karsky of Nisswa holds up his winning 4.73 pound walleye Saturday at the $152 / 6
With her ornate gear bucket. Donna Matzko of East Gull Lake fishes in the Braine3 / 6
Dressed as a bumble bee, Alan Carpenter of Hibbing, MN tries to launch his kite 4 / 6
On a date, Erik Theis of Grand Forks and Hannah Gausman of Alexandria spend Satu5 / 6
With his head resting on a snow pillow, Joel Swanson of Arden Hills takes a nap 6 / 6

Nisswa resident Art Karsky is the proud new owner of a GMC truck.

Karsky won the top prize Saturday during the Brainerd Jaycees’ annual $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza off Gull Lake’s Hole-in-the-Day Bay, north of Brainerd, off Highway 371.

Karsky won the truck by catching a 4.73 pound walleye with a Gemini lure in 55-feet of water on the southeastern part of the ice fishing contest area. Karsky caught the fish about six inches from the bottom of the lake.

“(As soon as the walleye took the bait) I was like, ‘Boom, she hit it,’” said Karsky. “It took about three to four minutes to pull it up.”

This is Karsky’s second year fishing the contest. Last year he came and his son-in-law caught a fish and won an ice auger. He said they thought they’d try to fish it again and see what kind of luck they’d have. It ended up paying off.

Karsky caught the fish about seven minutes before the contest ended at 3 p.m.

Karsky, who is an avid ice fisherman and mainly fishes Gull Lake, said his walleye Saturday was the largest fish he has ever caught on Gull Lake. He said his son-in-law caught a 26-inch walleye on Gull Lake one time.

Karsky works at Pro Build in Nisswa.

Daniel Schwanke, Hutchinson, was close to winning a truck. Schwanke took second place with a 4.17 pound walleye. He was in the lead until Karsky caught the bigger walleye minutes before the closing of the contest.

“I’m pretty excited” Schwanke said when he was in the lead. “My 7-year-old daughter told me that I was going to win the truck.

“I’ve gone (to the Jaycees contest) for a few years, but this the first fish I have ever caught.”

Schwanke caught the walleye in 60-feet of water with a Buck Shot lure.

Ivan Lyogky of Hartville, Ohio, took fourth place with a 2.92 pound northern pike. He has fished the contest for the past 18 years. Lyogky was the first guy in his group to catch a fish.

The first person to bring a fish into the weigh-in tent Saturday was Joe Kolle of Maple Grove. He had a 0.2 pound perch. It was Kolle’s first time ever to fish the Jaycees ice fishing contest.

Nick Peterson, 16, Brainerd, took 24th place with a 1.4 pound tullibee that he caught with a lightning spoon lure. Peterson caught the fish five minutes into the contest. Peterson won $5,400, since he had the special edition Emerald Shiner colored Lindy Rattlin’ Flyer Spoon.

When first asked if Peterson had the lure, he said he wasn’t sure. Later on he found the lure in his tackle box to win the top prize in the Lindy Big Fish Bounty contest. If he didn’t have the special lure he would have just won $2,400.

Peterson said he goes ice fishing a lot, but not a lot on Gull Lake.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER, staff writer, may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow on Twitter at