Lake Elmo Lions ice fishing contest a go for now

Folks gathered atop a frozen Lake Jane at last year’s Lake Elmo Lions Ice Fishing Contest. The event takes place Super Bowl Sunday every year.
Folks gathered atop a frozen Lake Jane at last year’s Lake Elmo Lions Ice Fishing Contest. The event takes place Super Bowl Sunday every year. (Linda Baumeister/Review)
These Northern pike earned three anglers cash prizes at last year’s contest.
These Northern pike earned three anglers cash prizes at last year’s contest.

Thin ice could put contest in jeopardy

Frozen Lake Jane may once again be a hot spot in the east metro for anglers on Super Bowl Sunday, that is if Mother Nature cooperates.

“It could be a little iffy this year,” Lake Elmo Lions Club membership chairman Bruce Albrecht says.

While it seems as though it’s been a bitterly cold winter that would make for ideal ice conditions on the lake for the Lions Club’s 58th annual ice fishing contest, Albrecht says the ice was only about 12 ½ inches thick as of Monday, Jan. 12.

“We were off to a good start with over 12 inches back in November and then a warm-up had us lose a few inches,” Albrecht says.

A late-December thaw and an insulating snow pack haven’t helped either. In order to hold the popular event that draws hundreds of anglers and their vehicles onto the frozen lake, the DNR stipulates the ice must be at least 18 inches thick.

But, there’s still plenty of time for the ice to thicken before the Feb. 1 event -- or thin out, Albrecht admits.

Fishing before the big game

The Lions Club’s annual ice fishing contest is slated for Sunday, Feb. 1, from 1 to 3 p.m. on Lake Jane.  Entry to the lake will take place at 11 a.m. at 9288 Lake Jane Trail North (there will be plenty of signs in the area). Holes will be pre-drilled and bait will be provided.

Admission to the event is $4 per-hole prior to the contest and $5 the day of the event.  Tickets are being sold at several area businesses, including Lake Elmo Bank, Hagberg’s, Gorman’s, Lake Elmo Inn, Fury Motors and Village Liquor. Visit the Lake Elmo Lions Club Facebook page for a complete list of businesses selling tickets at https://www.facebook.com/LELionsIFC.

A ticket to the event gets participants a chance to win a prize a minute and the grand prize drawing of $1,000.  There will be cash prizes for the three biggest fish caught during contest hours -- by weight -- of $300, $200 and $100.

There will also be a food tent serving brats, hot dogs and hot chocolate, a prize shed and a fire to warm up by. Proceeds from the event will help to support several local Lions Club-sponsored charities.

Volunteers are busy prepping for the family-friendly occasion, which has an alternate date of Sunday, Feb. 8, scheduled if poor ice conditions or weather prevent the contest from taking place on Feb. 1.

Albrecht says the contest has only been moved to the designated “storm day” twice in its 58-year history.

The first, he recalls, was during a blizzard when temperatures plummeted to 30 degrees below zero.

The second time was for unstable ice.  “We drilled about five or six holes, and water came shooting up real fast like a geyser,” he recalls. “We were standing in 6 inches [on up] to a foot of water. Us old guys got off the ice pretty fast.”

A January thaw predicted at the end of this week has event organizers a little nervous, but it’s mid-winter in Minnesota, so one would think temperatures topping out near 40 degrees would be short-lived, right? Only time will tell.

Albrecht says WCCO radio plans to announce any last-minute date changes to the ice fishing contest, should they be needed.

The Review will also post a date change or confirmation that the event will take place on its website at http://www.lillienews.com/news by Friday, Jan. 30.

Joshua Nielsen can be reached at jnielsen@lillienews.com or 651-748-7822.

 

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