The first ice fishing contest on the Chetek Chain this winter kicks off with the Chetek Fire Department’s 26th annual Chetek Firefighters’ Adult and Kids Ice Fishing Tournament on the Chetek Chain of Lakes on Saturday, Jan. 18. Once again, the contest is open to all lakes on the Chetek Chain and will land on Wisconsin’s Free Fishing Weekend.

The fishing contest will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Prizes will be awarded in both adult and kids’ divisions for the following fish categories: northern pike, walleye, bass, bluegill, crappie and perch. The top three place winners (by weight) of each fish species in both the adult and kids’ divisions will be awarded prizes.

In the adult division, the first-place prize is $200, second place is $100 and third place is $50. Prizes of $75, $50 and $25 will be awarded for first through third places in the kids’ division as well. All fish entered in the kids’ contest will win a prize. There will also be prizes awarded for rough fish caught and registered.

“A reminder to anglers: you can only bring in legal fish to be weighed. No slot fish (walleyes) or under-size will be weighed,” stated tournament organizer John VanBeek.

Basically, ice anglers fishing for game fish can only register/keep northern pike measuring 26 inches or longer (the daily bag limit is two fish), bass that are 14 inches or longer (the daily bag limit is five fish) and walleyes that are 15 inches or longer (the daily bag limit is three fish). However, there is a slot limit for walleyes on the Chetek Chain where fish that measure 20–24 inches must be released—these fish cannot be kept or registered— and only one fish over 24 inches is allowed.

Along with the fishing contest, participants will be able to take part in raffle drawings.

Prior to and during the fishing contest, those in attendance may purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win the grand-prize drawing. This year’s lucky winner will walk away with a 2019 Ranger 570 side-by-side as the grand prize. Second place is $250, third is $100 and fourth is $50. Tickets are six for $10 or $2 each.

Additional bonus raffle prizes will be drawn every half-hour throughout the day. Contestants must be present to win bonus raffle prizes.

There will also be several gun raffle prizes—a Del-Ton Sport AR-15, an ATI Omni AR-15, a Savage Mark II .22 rifle (walnut stock), a Desert Eagle 1911 .45 ACP, a Glock 21 Gen4 .45 automatic and a Taurus Judge .45LC/.410—along with various raffle prizes available at $10 per chance.

Winners for the grand-prize raffle drawing and gun boards need not be present to win but are subject to a background check.

Concessions, raffle boards and weigh-in will take place on shore in the Pokegama Inn parking lot.

Following the 3 p.m. weigh-in deadline, attendees will congregate near the concession stand and tent when place winners and raffle winners will be announced.

All proceeds from the ice fishing contest go toward the Chetek Fire Department.

For more information, contact John VanBeek at 715-296-1598.

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