Anglers enjoy their time in Mobridge

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By Katie Zerr

There was a common thread amongst the anglers attending the Chamber Tourism Committee Ice Fishing Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 14, that the committee made the right decision in canceling the fishing due to unsafe ice conditions.

Anglers from across the country came to Mobridge for their chance at winning one of the $150,000 worth of prizes even though they were not fishing. One angler commented he was glad he didn’t have to bring all of his equipment on a long trip, yet still had the chance at first prize.

Although tournament organizers did not sanction the fishing, many fishermen hit the ice to test their skills against Lake Oahe walleye. Most said the bite was a little slow, but a group from Watertown were proudly showing a picture of the eight-plus pound walleye Corey Vosberg pulled through the ice.

A member of the group from Watertown, Steve Polchow, said he and his partner caught six fish just off of the water plant pump house, through about eight inches of ice.

“I love it (the tournament),” he said. “It is a lot of fun. I wish I could come every year, but it is hard to get into.”

He said he agreed with the decision of the tournament committee because the ice conditions were not safe and that the safety of the anglers was the foremost reason for canceling the fishing part of the tourney.

“From what we heard from our anglers that were in Mobridge, they all understood the decision that we had to make, and they just enjoyed just being a part of it. The overall weekend was a success,” said Jesse Konold, tournament committee member. “There are always kinks in any event, and I think that our committee was able to make lemonade out of lemons, and we are looking forward to working on a bigger and better event for 2013 event.”

Konold said volunteers are one of the reasons the event is so successful.

“The committee has great gratitude to all of the 70 plus volunteers that helped on Friday and Saturday night,” he said. “Without the help of those people our tournament would not be what it is today.”

Anglers have been coming to the tournament for the past 10 years and made the trip to Mobridge despite the fact fishing would not be a part of the tournament format this year.

Many liked the more relaxed atmosphere of the event, and took advantage of the time they had on and off the ice.

Cathy Carlson from Rogers, Ark., said the day on the lake was beautiful and she spent the day enjoying the unseasonable warmth.

“I made fajitas!” she said. “It was a great day to be on the ice. I got a suntan.”

It was her fourth year fishing the Mobridge tournament and even though her partner didn’t accompany her on the ice on Saturday, she said she looks forward to fishing with him in the next tournament.

“I will still come back here next year. It is a great place and it is beautiful here,” she said.

A number of Mobridge fisherman headed north to fish in the Pollock area but also said the bite was slow up north. One angler said they were fishing on about 10 inches of ice.

Others enjoyed the comradery of the tournament and celebrated with a dip in the lake, near Blue Blanket.

Kerry Konold and relatives that were here for the tournament took turns churning up the icy water as they ducked under the surface.

Because fishing was not a part of the tournament this year, the committee drew team numbers for the prizes this year. The top 25 teams as drawn were Douglas and Brittney Bonen, Java; Chris Raba and Landon Wolf, Aberdeen; Patrick and Robert Geary, Rapid City; Al Layton and Warren Sumption, Frederick; Tim Fuchs and Scott Christiansen, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Ray Davis and Doug Schafer, Mobridge; Travis Heller and Ed Bickel, Isabel; Dean Wolfe and Robert Feldhaus, Huron; Gary Fahrni and Lonnie Nilson, Selby; Mark Erickson and Dan Sedevie, Bismarck, N.D.; Patrick and Matt Feiock, Mobridge; Dave and Eric McCarlson, Bowdle; Charlie Mack and Jay Johnson, Watertown; Dana and Dick Deacon, Mobridge; Shawn and Harold Ball, Sioux Falls; Bob and ToddFahrni, Fargo, N.D.; Daniel and Mike Hoon, McLaughlin; David Christensen and Jerry Liesinger, Sioux Falls; Ken Lewis and Jack Voller, Mobridge; Mike and Jordon Nehls, Mobridge; Lanny and Ryan Stiklestad, Bowdle; Jim and Hannah Gouldin, Sturgis; Mike Mettler and Jason Weisbeck, Mobridge; Jay and Jeffrey Kelley, Arlington; and Duane Martin and William Zacher, Mobridge.

Larry and Kristi McClure took home the “Chinky Faehnrich” prize package that included a new ice shack and Chinky’s signature 12 pack of Coors Light along with other prizes.

The committee is currently making changes for next year’s event which will include increasing the number of teams to 500 and using a lottery system to draw for those spots.

– Katie Zerr –

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