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Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza is back

Scheduled noon to 3 p.m. Jan. 29 on Gull Lake at the Hole-in-the-Day Bay, this will be the 31st time the tournament occurs in person.

Thousands of anglers gather on Hole-in-the-day Bay on Gull Lake ice fishing
Thousands of anglers will gather on Hole-in-the-day Bay on Gull Lake Saturday, Jan. 29, for the Brainerd Jaycees Ice-fishing Extravaganza. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — From tournament veterans to those with a “fishing bucket list,” it’s time to get ready for the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza, back on Gull Lake’s Hole-in-the-Day Bay Saturday, Jan. 29, for its 31st annual charity tournament.

As the Jaycees continue to inch closer and closer to once again bringing thousands of their closest friends back on the ice for the Ice Fishing Extravaganza , Brainerd Jaycees 2022 chairperson Andrew Jay said he hopes everyone comes back to Gull Lake for this year’s in-person ice fishing contest as the “ice is looking good.”

“It's hard to know what to expect … the outdoor industry has exploded over the past two years,” Jay said. “Nothing's in stock from fish houses to trucks and anything else, you know, everything's just so picked over. So we have that many new fishermen who are going to come out and join us, too.”

The tournament is scheduled from noon to 3 p.m. Jan. 29 on Gull Lake, with tickets available for purchase for $50 at all Fleet Farm locations until Jan. 29. Participants and guests can enter the tournament area through a check station after 8 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.

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The extravaganza’s catch of the day prize giveaway is an additional contest within the tournament that gives contestants a chance at an ice fishing prize package valued at nearly $9,000. The catch of the day “mystery species” will be announced the week before the event.

Each contestant will be allowed to fish one hole, per ticket, and is allowed a two-hole maximum.

“A lot of it's going to be pretty similar to what people would have expected in the past, you know, we're doing a lot of the same things, a lot more vendors this year,” Jay said. “It sounds like we'll have a really good selection of food and, you know, even things for sale out there, too.”

In its final days of preparation, there’s one thing left on everyone’s mind — the ice.

“We've already been in contact with the sheriff and they're aware of ice conditions. … The ice has been looking good,” Jay said.

Ice chisels are recommended as holes are all pre-drilled.

Sheena Zieglar, Brainerd Jaycees’s marketing director said since the start of the contest, the Jaycees gave nearly $4 million back to the community through their volunteer work.

“I would guess (we have) upwards of 150 to 200 volunteers on the ice,” Zieglar said. “From checking people in all the way to helping us tear down, our team of volunteers is incredible every year, but we always can use more.”

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For Jay and the Jaycees, watching everything come together is the exciting part. From seeing everyone roll off the bus and race to find their lucky hole, “the whole day-of atmosphere, its something else.”

Tickets can be purchased online at icefishing.org/shop or at any Fleet Farm location prior to Jan. 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 is a new, sister event to the Ice Fishing Extravaganza that is hosted virtually through the FishDonkey app.

Throughout the app, participants will upload pictures of their fish — walleye, northern pike, crappie, perch and sunfish as the 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 would beat a 90-point northern. If a tiebreaker is required, the first fish registered would win.

The tournament is open to all ice fishing anglers across America on Jan. 22, 2022, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. All proceeds from the event are donated to charities.

The tournament’s top prize is also an F-150 Truck or $25,000 cash.

Registration and more information for the national tournament can be found at virtualicefishing.org or on Facebook .

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TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email tim.speier@brainerddispatch.com .

Related Topics: FISHINGBRAINERD JAYCEES ICE FISHING EXTRAVAGANZABRAINERDTHINGS TO DO BRAINERDCENTERPIECE
Tim Speier joined the Brainerd Dispatch in October 2020, covering Public Safety and the Baxter City Council.
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