After getting the OK from Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department Thursday afternoon with a measurement of 16 inches across most of the ice on Gull Lake’s Hole-in-the-Day Bay, the 23rd annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza is set to go from 12-3 p.m. on Jan. 19.
“We couldn’t be more excited that everything checked out this year,” said Angie Nelson, marketing coordinator for this year’s Extravaganza, who noted last year’s postponement of the tournament to February due to poor ice conditions. “Our main concern as always is that everything is safe out there and with the approval from the Crow Wing County sheriff, it’s a great feeling.”
Nelson said because of last year’s delay, Jaycees had to give away 1,200 vouchers for this year’s contest. Around 7,500 tickets were pre-sold and more than 10,000 anglers are expected to compete for one of 150 prizes valued this year at more than $200,000. In the history of the event, contestants from as far away as Hawaii and Germany have participated.
Contestants can expect the same type of event as in years past with the large prize list and the unique opportunities to win major prizes at different spots on the leader board — first place wins a new pick-up truck and 100th place wins an Ice Castle fish house. Back again this year is the Lindy Big Fish Bounty where the 23rd place winner can earn $3,000 in addition to the $2,300 on the prize list if they catch the winning fish on a the special edition Clown colored Lindy Rattlin’ Flyer Spoon available exclusively at Mills Fleet Farm stores.
Officials and event organizers want to encourage those attending to use the free shuttles available at Brainerd International Raceway and at the old Nisswa Flea Market on Highway 371 North. Shuttles will begin at 8 a.m. and run until the last contestants are off the ice.
The Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza is completely volunteer‐run and all event proceeds are donated to area charities. The primary benefactor is Confidence Learning Center which is an outdoor recreational facility and camp for people with developmental disabilities. However, more than 50 organizations in the Brainerd lakes area have received donations in the history of the event which will most likely tip the scales at $3 million in charitable donations this year. More information and official updates can be found at www.icefishing.org.