Ice fishing event set for Saturday

FAIRMONT — While the recent drop in temperature after a few weeks of warm weather may be discouraging to some, others look forward to the outdoor activities that only winter can accommodate.

On Saturday, the Fairmont Lakes Foundation will hold its annual ice fishing tournament. Justin Sommer of Sommer Outdoors in Fairmont shared some information on the upcoming event.

“We’ve always had ice fishing contests, but this is the Lakes Foundation’s fifth one,” he said. “Before that it was the Martin County Conservation Club.”

When asked about the number of participants in recent years, Sommer reports that three of the past four years have completely sold out.

“We were capped out at 150, and I don’t think we’ve had anything below 130,” he said. “This year, we did draw a permit so that we could extend it up to 250 anglers. As we sit right now, we’re right around the 125 mark for this year.”

Sommer said those interested need to sign up before the event. People will have to check in with their $30 entrance fee at Sommer Outdoors between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Saturday.

“Then 11 a.m. is the start of the tournament down at Gomsrud Park down in the parking lot, where everybody needs to gather before they start,” he said. “Then they’ll go out and fish, and weigh in is at 3 p.m.”

Anglers will have to be in line for weigh-in no later than 3:10 p.m.

Sommer noted that the entrance fee covers a pulled pork sandwich and chips from the Channel Inn any time after 11 a.m.

“Door prizes will be given away while we tally up the totals,” he said. “Then the 10 biggest fish in the Northern pike, large mouth bass, walleye and pan fish categories will get prizes, and there’s cash prizes for the biggest walleye and the biggest pan fish.”

A list of rules will be given to anglers after registration.

In the event of a major blizzard, a backup date has been set for Feb. 2.

Those interested in learning more about the event may contact Sommer Outdoors in Fairmont at (507) 235-5225.