A record number of anglers strung out across Little Elk Lake last Saturday to compete in the 11th annual Ridgewood Bay ice fishing tournament in which contestants brought up a number of good-size northerns. A lesser number of walleyes, sunnies and crappies were caught in the biggest fish placings.
Tournament director Allen Kichler reported a turnout of 271 adults and 61 youth. Greg Hengstler took the adult angler category championship with an 8.25-pound northern to receive a $330 prize, plus another $80 for biggest pike. In other adult placings, Mark Person was second with a 6.5-pound pike for $220, and Jon Bengtson was third with a 6.05-pound pike for $175.
In the youth division (age 12 and under), the top winner was Justin Cortez with a 4.95-pound pike to receive $175, plus $80 for biggest pike for a youth. Hunter Black was second with a 3.55-pound pike for $150, and Sami Diemert came in third with a 3.33-pound pike for $100.
The weather started out calm and pleasant by winter’s standards when the tournament began at 9 a.m. and stayed that way up until about 1:30 p.m. when the temperature began dropping and the wind picked up.
By the time the tournament ended at 3 p.m., the wind was strong enough that it moved portable fish houses around.
The cold wind blew one of the fish houses across the lake and picked up another fish house with a 150-pound youth inside named Grant Gloe and moved it about 10 feet.