The 23rd annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza will go on as scheduled Saturday, Jan. 19, after 16 inches of ice were found on Hole in the Day Bay on Gull Lake.
Given the weather forecast of high temperatures in the teens and single digits, organizers are convinced more ice will be made in the next week.
“There’s no reason to keep anyone in limbo. We’re good,” said Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Goddard after he and Sheriff Todd Dahl drilled a couple of holes at the contest site Thursday, Jan. 10.
The sheriff agreed to issue the permit needed to hold the contest after ice depths in two different spots measured 15 1/2 and 16 inches. The 16 inches were found in the northwest corner of the contest site, where ice is traditionally the least deep.
“We’re in better shape than last year. All the praying worked,” Dahl said.
“There’s been a lot of that,” said Cori Wrobel, event chair this year.
Last year’s event was postponed a few weeks because of concerns over ice thickness.
Extravaganza participants are urged to use the transportation provided the day of the event. Shuttle sites will be located north and south of Hole in the Day Bay, in the open field near Sportland Corners (Holiday and Schaefer’s Foods) and at Brainerd International Raceway.
“If traveling by lake, we ask that they use ATVs or snowmobiles to keep the complete impact down,” Goddard said, noting they don’t plan to restrict travel by lake unless ice heaves should suddenly form.
The fishing area will open to the public at 8 a.m. with the competition from noon to 3 p.m. Winners will be announced right afterward, around 3:30 p.m. at the stage on the ice.
Tickets are still available online, at Brainerd area outlets and at Mills Fleet Farm for $45.
For more information, go to www.icefishing.org.