NU Area Sport Fishermen will move ice fishing event to land

‘We’re not going out on the ice’

Members of the New Ulm Area Sport Fishermen stand at the Clear Lake water access boat landing. Members agree, the ice is not thick enough to hold the annual ice fishing contest, but the fundraising event will held on land Sunday. Don Hanks, Jim Hulke, Hillard Johnson, Greg Klinkner, Mark Dauer, Dwight Nilson and Avergy Wills

NEW ULM — For the second time this year, a local ice fishing contest will be held on land without ice fishing.

The New Ulm Area Sport Fishermen (NUASF) will hold their 37th Annual Ice Fishing event at Clear Lake Sunday, Feb. 11, but due to unusually warm temperatures, festivities will be held on land in the parking lot near the water access site.

Last Sunday, the annual Sleepy Eye Ice Fishing derby was forced to make the same concession due to thin ice.

Several members of NUASF visited the Clear Lake Monday to plan how to conduct an ice fishing derby without the ice fishing.

At first glance, Clear Lake looks safe. A layer of ice covers the entire lake, but a closer look around the shore edge confirms it is not thick enough to support ice fishing.

“We’re not going out on the ice,” NUASF member Hillard Johnson said. “I wouldn’t recommend anyone else go out there either.”

The members agreed, the ice was not safe. Member Jim Hulke said he wouldn’t even want to walk out on the ice in its current condition. Members agreed they would need at least 15 or 16 inches of ice before it was safe for fishing and with temperature holding above freezing, that was unlikely to happen by Sunday.

In fact, daily temperatures are expected to remain in the 50s through Thursday. By Sunday, the temperatures will remain above freezing with a high of 36 degrees.

However, the NUASF will continue to hold itss annual event come rain, shine or thin ice. The annual ice fishing contest serves as NUASF top fundraising event for the year.

Hulke said this is not even the first time the event was held on land. There was a previous year in which the ice was too thin. The festivities were held in a campground adjacent to the lake. Unfortunately the campground is unavailable due to the warm weather.

In addition to limiting the ice, the warm weather has created muddy conditions in the campground, preventing its use this year. Festivities will limited to the water access parking lot.

The means the public will need to park along one side of the township road leading to the water access site. NUASF Member Mark Dauer suggested shuttling guests into the parking lot area. He recommended people attending the event consider car pooling.

While fishing will not be possible, NUASF hopes families will attend for youth interested in fishing. The main goal of the ice fishing contest is to get youth hooked on fishing.

Every year, NUASF gives away hundreds of free prizes out to children attending the fishing contest. Any kid who is registered receive prizes. This year, two lifetime fishing licenses will be given away to a boy and girl under 15. Anyone under 15 may registered for this prize. There is no cost to register a kid.

The event will run 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. There will be food available and other activities. NUASF members are planning to hold a bonfire.


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