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Get Ready for Brainerd Ice Fishing!
Get Ready for Brainerd Ice Fishing!

jaycees_2012The lake may not be frozen yet, but serious anglers are already getting geared up for the ice fishing season. Ice fishing is an important winter tradition in Brainerd. Not only does Brainerd have great lakes for ice fishing, but it’s also the home of the world’s largest ice fishing competition: The Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza.

The Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza began in the early 1990’s and the popularity of Brainerd ice fishing allowed this event to grow year after year. The great thing about this event is that all of the proceeds benefit local charities. In fact, last year, $136,572 was donated to charities like the American Cancer SocietyCan -Do Canines and the Confidence Learning Center.

2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Brainerd Jaycee’s Ice Fishing Extravaganza. It will be held on January 24, 2015 at Hole in the Day Bay on Gull Lake. Tickets may be purchased for $30 exclusively at all Mill Fleet Farm locations November 1-30, 2014 (regular ticket price is $45). Tickets can also be purchased online or through the mail by sending an entry form and payment to Brainerd Jaycee’s, PO Box 523, Brainerd, MN 56401.

The day of the event, bring your contest ticket and a way to secure it — it’s an adhesive ticket (similar to a ski lift ticket) so a wire or string that loops through your zipper works the best. Your ticket must be visible at all times. Bring your driver’s license — especially if you are purchasing your tickets at an outlet or on the ice the day of the event. You will also need to have a current Minnesota fishing license.

The event runs from noon-3:00 p.m. on January 24. However, many people like to get to the ice early and check out all of the holes in order to find the perfect place to fish. Cragun’s Resort has shuttle service running to the contest site starting at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Sign-up sheets will be available on Friday evening so you can choose the time that works best for you.

This event is an ice fishing contest where anglers compete for nearly $200,000 in cash and prizes. There are 150 spots on the prize board and the values are distributed throughout the list. Contestants are judged on the weight of their fish only—not the particular species of fish caught or length. All fish are weighed and are time-stamped so in the event of a tie the first fish weighed takes precedence. Prizes for the contest range from a new Ford truck to Ice Castle Fish Houses, a $1250 vacation at Cragun’s Resort to four-wheelers and ice augers.

Cragun’s Resorts offers winter vacation packages for the Ice Fishing Extravaganza weekend. The two-night package includes lodging in a Lakeview Fireplace Room (cabin upgrades available) for 2 adults and up to 2 children age 12 and under and free shuttle service to and from the contest sites. Cragun’s is conveniently located on Gull Lake and has a full-service marina available for all of your bait and tackle needs.

This will be a busy weekend at Cragun’s Resort. Book your hotel room or cabin now!