ESCANABA - Despite bitter cold temperatures and high winds anglers took to the ice again this year for the Jig It Ice Fishing Extravaganza to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area.
Twenty-eight fish were caught during the event between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday. The champion fish, a 7-pound, 15-ounce walleye, was caught by Casey Collegnon around 1:15 p.m. For catching the fish, Collegnon received the grand prize of $2,000.
Other prizes awarded included a Jiffy Model 30XTw/8xt power auger, a Clam 2000 portable two-man shelter, Mr. Buddy Heaters, and a variety of other packages all valued at $100 or more.
Ilsa Matthes | Daily Press
Austin Irving, 4, right, tries his luck in the kids coop with the help of his neighbor Phil Wilkins during the Jig It Ice Fishing Extravaganza Saturday. The event drew around 200 participants despite high winds and cold temperatures. Twenty-eight fish were caught with a 7-pound, 15-ounce walleye hooked by Casey Collegnon taking home the top prize of $2,000.
While high winds and cold temperatures left anglers scooping ice as it formed in the roughly 500 holes that were pre-drilled by BBBS for the adult competition, dedicated anglers stayed the course in search of the biggest fish.
"(We had) about 200 people for such a bitter cold day," said Tanya Ettenhofer, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area.
Due to a few years of lower catch rates - including 2012 when only a 4.5 ounce perch was caught during the event - BBBS released 200 trout in the harbor near the center of the competition area prior to the beginning of registration.
This year, 600 trout were also released into a special "kids coop" fishing area. The area was caged in beneath the ice to prevent fish from escaping into the rest of the harbor while children fished. Later in the day a special "high roller" adult competition was also held in this area.
For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area visit www.bbbsbayarea.org or call 789-0060.