Committee decides to weigh no fish, hold tournament event

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By Katie Zerr

Mother Nature threw a‘wrench in the works and after a lengthy discussion the Mobridge Chamber Tourism Committee decided that the ice on Lake Oahe is too dangerous to send 900 anglers out in search of walleye.

The committee decided it would not endorse fishing and no fish will be weighed-in for prizes, but the annual ice fishing tournament event would go on as planned.

With unseasonably warm weather in December and the first 10 days of January, most of Lake Oahe around Mobridge was still open as of Tuesday, Jan. 10. With the fishing planned on Saturday, Jan. 14, the lack of ice and ever-changing conditions of what ice there is, the concern was for the safety of the entrants.

“This is the best solution that we could come up with considering the conditions,” Rick Bolduan, Tourism Committee co-chair, said in a news release about the tourney. “This will hopefully be that last time we have to make a judgment call on something like this, but unfortunately we cannot control Mother Nature.”

The Friday night registration and prize give away will be at the regular published times. All handouts (buckets, food, snacks, etc.) will be given out Friday night.

Saturday will be an open day for entrants to do as they wish.

“We are encouraging local businesses to plan some events during the day,” said committee member Jesse Konold. “As of right now we are looking into other activities for the anglers but do not have anything planned right now.”

Konold said the committee had looked into setting up a poker tournament, but the legalities of such an endeavor would take more time than the committee has.

He said the feedback from anglers registered for the tournament has been mostly positive. There have been some negative reactions but that is to be expected, he said.

“Through social media there has been a lot of information out there that we are still fishing from boats up here,” he said.

On Saturday, the prize giveaway will start at 6 p.m., at Scherr-Howe. The Tourism Committee will start drawing places for prize money, and other place prizes. The committee will then give away the prize money and the rest of the large prizes starting at 7:30 p.m. For all prizes handed out both Friday and Saturday, anglers must be present to win.

“As a fisherman, I know there is good ice out there, but we as a committee just could not take any chances with our anglers,” said Konold. “We can’t risk having someone going down and have that on our chest.”

Konold said the committee has listened to the anglers and is making changes to the registration of the tournament for next year.

“We are going to a lottery system. The committee feels it is the best way to go,” he said. “We just don’t think those that can type the fastest is a fair way to register.”

He said the committee is opening the tournament to 500 teams. There will be a $10 registration fee (to help defer the costs of administering the lottery) for teams to be entered into the pool.

Registration to enter the pool begins on Sept. 3 and closes on Sept. 28. The committee will draw 500 teams from the pool on Oct. 1. Announcement of the teams is planned for Oct. 3, if everything goes as planned.

“It is a great problem to have this much interest in our tournament,” said Konold. “We just want to make it fair for everybody who wants to be a part of it.”

For more information about the Mobridge Ice Fishing Tournament, contact the Mobridge Chamber at 605-845-2387, visit the web sites at www.mobridge.org or www.mobridgeoutdoors.com, or find them on Facebook.

- Katie Zerr -

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