By Grace Moore
The annual Keyhole Ice Fishing Tournament, sponsored by the Pine Haven Chamber of Commerce, was titled The Lightning Leo Memorial this year, dedicated to Leo, who was an avid fisherman on Keyhole for many years.
“He passed away five years ago,” said chamber president Sharon Coleman. “He was always very involved with helping the kids to ice fish. We thought it would be nice to honor him by giving the ice fishing tournament a name.”
The first morning of the tournament arrived bright, cold and clear, with temperatures around minus 13. These details that stop many people from even venturing out of their cozy homes are the delight of the born ice fishermen.
The 50 contestants could be observed all over the ice of Keyhole, seeking the glory of the largest fish…and, of course, the cash prize. When the fish were
weighed, Coleman noted that the weights were, “really up for everything that was brought in. Best year I have seen for fishing”. She made 100 breakfast burritos and chili for all of the competitors and everything was eaten.
Saturday top prizes: Garrett Lynde, largest pan; Brian Pett, largest walleye; Kory Thule, largest pike; Alison Amos, kids; each received $150 for the day.
Sunday top prizes: Jesse McAulay, largest pan; Bill Matthews, largest Walleye; Kory Thule, largest pike; and Ashlyn Attaway, kids, each winning $150 for the day.
The top winners for the whole weekend are Bill Mathews with two walleye, $250; Kory Thule with two of the same species, $150; and Garret Lynde with two day pan fish, $150. Robin Gassner won $290 in the 50/50 drawing that was held during the event as well.
Long-time competitor Richard Hoon of Rozet has been an avid ice fisherman all of his life. According to Hoon, there’s a reason for that. His parents were attempting to cross a river in North Dakota that had no bridge while his mother was pregnant with him. “So Dad crossed straight across the river about a mile and a half; the ice was cracking, my mom got nervous and I was born,” he grins.