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Record 1,240 fish registered as thousands participate in Jaycees ice fishing contest

Unseasonably warm winter weather brought more than 11,000 people to the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza Saturday on Gull Lake. Participants from as far away as Poland were on Gull Lake trying to catch the big one in hopes of winning $20...

Ice Fishing anglers walk to the contest area Saturday for the 25th Annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Hole-in-the-Day Bay on Gull Lake in Nisswa. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
Ice Fishing anglers walk to the contest area Saturday for the 25th Annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Hole-in-the-Day Bay on Gull Lake in Nisswa. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

Unseasonably warm winter weather brought more than 11,000 people to the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza Saturday on Gull Lake. Participants from as far away as Poland were on Gull Lake trying to catch the big one in hopes of winning $200,000 in prizes.

At 12:02 p.m. the first angler entered the weigh-in tent carrying a perch. Steven Baumgartner from Owatonna landed the winning fish at 2:45 p.m., catching a 6.73-pound northern pike with a shiner in just 15 feet of water. Baumgartner won a new GMC pick-up from Mills Automotive Group. Winning the Catch of the Day Extravaganza Give-Away ice fishing package valued at nearly $9,000 was Rome Anding of Lake City. He caught a .65-pound perch also winning a StrikeMaster Ice Auger for 141st place on the leader board.

There were a record 1,240 fish registered in the three-hour contest.

Hailed as the world's largest charitable ice fishing contest, there are two notable characteristics about this event, it is completely volunteer run and all of the proceeds are donated to charities throughout the Brainerd lakes area. The Brainerd Jaycees invest more than 20,000 hours in the planning of the contest. Amongst the 400 volunteers was Sarah Stenerson, the chairperson of the tournament this year.

"This was a great day for us, for our contestants and for the entire community," Stenerson said. "The 25th anniversary of the extravaganza was a phenomenal success."

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The largest beneficiary is Confidence Learning Center. The Brainerd Jaycees have donated nearly $3 million to charities since the first Extravaganza was held in 1991.

For more information and to see a complete list of winners go online at www.icefishing.org .

Related Topics: GULL LAKE
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