Angler Wins World’s Largest Ice Fishing Tournament


Imagine this scene: 10,000-plus anglers on a frozen lake, lined up in rows across the ice, peering into a little hole… waiting, hoping for their chance to catch a big fish  Such is the annual scene in Brainerd, Minnesota. The tournament, put on the Brainerd Jaycees, is the largest of its kind in the world. Each year, anglers brave the arctic conditions on Gull Lake in Northern Minnesota for big prizes and bigger bragging rights.

Art Karsky tested his luck this year on the frozen lake and came away winning the big prize. Here’s his story.

icefishing_brainerdNisswa resident Art Karsky is the proud new owner of a GMC truck.

Karsky won the top prize Saturday during the Brainerd Jaycees’ annual $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza off Gull Lake’s Hole-in-the-Day Bay, north of Brainerd, off Highway 371.

Karsky won the truck by catching a 4.73 pound walleye with a Gemini lure in 55-feet of water on the southeastern part of the ice fishing contest area. Karsky caught the fish about six inches from the bottom of the lake.

“(As soon as the walleye took the bait) I was like, ‘Boom, she hit it,’” said Karsky. “It took about three to four minutes to pull it up.”

This is Karsky’s second year fishing the contest. Last year he came and his son-in-law caught a fish and won an ice auger. He said they thought they’d try to fish it again and see what kind of luck they’d have. It ended up paying off.

Photos: Nancy Vogt (top), Brainerd Dispatch (above)

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Joe Sarmiento
Joe is an avid saltwater angler. He grew up in Washington State on the south end of Puget Sound where he first started fishing as a boy catching perch, flounder, rockfish, and occasionally salmon. Today, Joe lives in Southern California where he fishes off beaches and jetties, kayaks, and sportfishing boats. Joe writes about his saltwater adventures in the SoCal Salty blog, and for Western Outdoor News.