Minnesota is home to the 25th Annual Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza, considered the largest annual charity ice fishing contest in the world.
This year, more than 11,000 anglers flocked to Gull Lake to take part in the competition, which has actually yielded warm temperatures for visitors.
Event organizers have attributed increased attendance to the warm weather and incredibly, they drilled 30,000 holes in the lake for the massive fishing party.
Organizers stated in a press release, “After the past couple years of wind and cold, this is exactly what was needed. The crowd was evidence enough that everyone was ready for the fishing to go on. Participants from as far away as Poland were on Gull Lake trying to ‘catch the big one’ in hopes of winning $200,000 in prizes.”
Steven Baumgartner was the winner of the grand prize, a GMC pickup truck, after reeling in a 6.73-pound northern pike just 15 minutes before the competition ended.
Baumgartner’s northern pike was one of the record 1,240 fish caught over the three-hour fishing competition. Over 400 volunteers helped the event happen which has now raised nearly $3 million for local charities since its inception in 1991.
“This was a great day for us, for our contestants and for the entire community,” tournament chairperson Sarah Stenerson said in the press release. “The 25th anniversary of the extravaganza was a phenomenal success.”