Saturday’s Get Hooked in Luverne Ice Fishing Derby attracted 103 adults and 59 children to the creamery pond for some friendly competition and plenty of prizes.
Nearly 60-degree temperatures threatened the ice that day, but its 8 to 10-inch thickness was deemed safe for foot traffic.
Participants, many of them families, said they were glad they decided to come out to the ice.
“I’ve enjoyed spending time with him out here,” said Luverne’s Aaron Altman about his 6-year-old son, Ashton. “We’ve seen a few, but haven’t caught any yet.”
The Beaver Creek Sportsmen’s Club sponsored the event that featured a $500 grand prize for the largest fish.
The biggest fish of the day was a 9.1-pound northern caught by Richard Fongemie. He reportedly released it back into the pond, but accepted the $500 grand prize cash award.
Youth winners are:
First — Ella Ryndle with a 3.785-pounder. She won a kids ice fishing package with sled, tent and chair.
Second — Micah Wallenberg, 1.980, fishing pole with lure and large single topping Smokey Bear's pizza
Third — Dillon Hoff, 1.96 Fish the Lake hoodie and Godfather's large single topping pizza
Adult winners are:
First — Trey Baustian, 2.66, gas ice auger
Second — Gage Nath, 2.295, Stampede Hockey Package (four club seats with food and drink package)
Third — Andy Haakenson, 1.917, $50 Papa's Place gift card, Take 16 tee shirt and HGS stained glass mobile
Tom Scholten and Deb VanWyhe, both of Beaver Creek, were running the scale for the Sportsmen’s Club.
“About everyone is catching something,” Scholten said as a steady stream of fishermen came through their trailer with fish — mostly crappies — to be weighed.
One of the event organizers, Mike Davis, said he appreciated the Sportsmen’s Club expertise.
“They stepped up and really have a good system of running a fishing tournament,” he said.
The group has run several fishing tournaments at the Rez in Hills, including five years of the Matt Gehrke Memorial fishing events.
Davis said the Luverne Boy Scouts helped out by drilling holes ahead of the event and committed to staying late to help with cleanup. In exchange, their $10 per youth ($15 for adults) registration fee was waived.
Davis said plenty of people helped out, and he was glad to see so many fishing enthusiasts show up to enjoy Saturday’s mild weather.
Davis owns the adjacent property to the pond and has been working with the Chamber and city officials to improve the beach and surrounding property for public enjoyment of the water.
In addition to fishing and swimming on the pond, Davis and other local leaders organized the town’s first ever July 4 “Parade on the Pond” that attracted hundreds of locals to the little beach.
Davis and the Chamber have announced that the 2016 Juy 4 “Beach Bash” will feature fireworks, music, food, a triathlon, bean bag tournament, log rolling contest, sand castle contest and more.
A July 4 committee of volunteers is working to raise money for the event. To help out, contact the Chamber at 283-4061.