Heat wave doesn't bother Bite the Ice
By Jerry W. Kram
It was a close thing, but the few blasts of Arctic cold in December and January made just enough ice to make this year’s Bite the Ice at the Hook. With temperatures in the mid-40s, things got a little slippery and sloppy, but that wasn’t any deterrent for a near record number of anglers who fished the tournament.
Although gloomy skies and a forecast of a windstorm may have kept a few people away, 644 anglers made the choice to fish the tournament, just five fewer than last years record turnout. Of that number, 75 were under the age of 12 and those anglers were given a free tackle box. While there was open water within sight of the tournament boundaries, there was 15 to 18 inches of ice to support trucks and fish houses off of the Van Hook shoreline. With the warm weather, there was also a quarter to half inch of water on top of the ice in places by the time the tournament was over at 2 p.m.
Despite the ice conditions, organizers were able to map out a tournament area about the same size as last year, said Eric Grubb, one of the tournament officials. Grubb said that this year’s tournament was a great success, at least judging by how busy the weigh station was.
"There were lots of perch caught," Grubb said. "The walleye and northern (competitions) filled out. And there was lots of rough fish for the junk bucket drawing."