Before the opening kick-off takes place this weekend, some Minnesotans and most of the US missed out on another championship taking place in the land of 10,000 lakes. The 'World's Largest Ice Fishing Tournament' put on by the Brainerd Jaycees, boasts a $150,000 prize pool, and the winner leaves with a new pick-up truck.

According to a press release, the 28th annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice-fishing Extravaganza was one of the largest in the event's history—the result of 20,000 hours of labor by 500 volunteers from the area.

The winner of the contest this year was Stephan and Ivan Lyogky, a father-son duo from Hartville, Ohio, took home the grand prize and third place respectively—they caught large northern pike weighing 3.10 pounds and 2.89 pounds respectively.

According to Ivan "the event represents a gathering" for their family, with cousins and uncles fishing alongside the father and son. Ice fishing has been a Lyogky staple for generations, a pastime Ivan's father shared with him when he lived as a child in Ukraine.

Hugh Clarke, a Lincoln, Neb., native, won the "catch of the day" with a 2.47-pound walleye and was awarded an Ice Castle fish house—the prize for a competition that requires an extra tag to participate, he noted, which is why his catch won over a larger walleye belonging to an untagged owner.

Clarke caught his fish using a spoon with a minnow head at a depth of about 64 feet.

The contest is the largest charitable ice-fishing event in the world, accruing more than $3.5 million for philanthropic causes since its inception in 1991. Next year's contest is scheduled for Jan. 26, 2019.


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