The Ottumwa Courier

January 21, 2014

Bundle up for ice fishing Saturday

Courier staff writer

---- — BLOOMFIELD — Luckily for those who like to fish, the ice that covers ponds, rivers and lakes during the cold winter months does not mean the fish stop biting. In fact, depending on which old fisherman you ask, the ice means the fish bite even more.

Fishermen and women will get the chance to catch a monster this weekend, or make up a story about how they just missed one, at the second annual ice fishing tournament sponsored by the American Legion and Tri-County Shopper.

The action gets started Saturday morning, and all who want to participate are asked to be at the American Legion by 7 a.m. for registration. The Legion will also be making a breakfast fashioned with biscuits and gravy, sausage, juices and lots of other delicious delicacies.

Once the tournament gets started, participants will get to fish at any pond or river in the area, so all of the sweet spots around Bloomfield will be fair game. The only thing asked is that all of the fishermen or women be back for the weigh-in at 3 p.m. at the Legion.

There will be prizes awarded once all of the partakers get their fish weighed, and all of the cash payouts will be based on weight. Those with the biggest catfish, bluegill, crappie and bass will get awards.

Once all of the fish can be weighed and the proper prizes are handed out, all of the fish will be taken to get cleaned. The Legion will then be having a fish fry, and they will also be making baked beans, mac and cheese and cole slaw to make it a hearty meal.

According to a Legion employee, “these guys know what they’re doing,” so you won’t want to miss out on getting some delicious fish.

The cost to participate in the tournament is $25 for a two-person team. None of the equipment will be provided, so contestants will have to bring their own augers, shelters and fishing supplies. There will also be a raffle for a Magnum Strike Master 8-inch Ice Auger, but it will not be raffled off until after the tournament. The ticket prices for the raffle are $5 for one or $20 for five.

As far as the ice goes, according to an American Legion source there is plenty of ice for fishing. The source said that all of the fishermen who are frequent customers to the Legion are saying there are 12 inches of ice at most of the regular fishing holes.

Anyone who loves to ice fish is encouraged to come out and have a good time at the tournament. With all of the food, prizes and great stories, there is no reason not to. Not even the weather, since the colder it is, the better the fishing, or so they say.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh