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The Bremen Conservation Club announced the winners of its 16th annual Ice Fishing Derby held recently on Lake of the Woods to benefit the Bremen Boys and Girls Club.

In the adult division, Vickie Rupert (Bremen) won with 157.5 inches of fish while Brian Hensley (Edwardsburg) was second with 149 inches and Mike Nemeth (Edwardsburg) was third with 144.5 inches. Bluegills dominated the catch of all three anglers.

In the youth division, Noah Haas (Osceola) won with 54 inches that included mostly perch.

The single longest fish was a 26.5-inch catfish caught by Ryan Ragland (New Lennox, Ill.)

MON Report

Ice Fishing Contests Set for Pine Lake in LaPorteLaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau will host a North American Ice Fishing Circuit (NAIFC) National Championship Qualifier this weekend.

While the competitive portion of the qualifier takes place on Sunday, the NAIFC Qualifier kicks off Friday Night with a seminar at Best Western Plus LaPorte Hotel & Conference Center in LaPorte. The seminar series opens with a 5-7 p.m. with a demonstration of ice fishing basics covering everything from what knot to tie to the use of plastic baits. Then at 7 p.m., the technical/how-to information is taken up a notch by highlighting fishing techniques from across the Ice Belt as well as Aqua Vu underwater camera use and tournament tactics.

The Bremen Conservation Club’s 16th Annual Ice Fishing Derby scheduled for January 19th at Lake of the Woods, Bremen, Ind. has been postponed until Feb. 2 due to insufficient ice.

Registration begins at 5 a.m. at the Community Building and fishing will be from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Entry fee is $10. The Club will again involve the Bremen Boys and Girls Club and will again share proceeds with them.

Cash prizes of $200 for first place to $25 for fifth place will be awarded for contestants who catch the “longest” total length of legal fish. Only fish over six inches will be measured. Youth prizes will range from an ice fishing shelter to a $25 gift card. A $25 bonus will be given for the single longest fish measured for the derby.

p>By Chip Leer

Early Ice Walleyes

Early winter offers walleye anglers who travel light and fish smart a chance to savor some of the season’s finest fishing.

Using common sense about ice safety is step one. My general rule is 5 to 6 inches of good clear ice to start walking, and I test the ice every few feet with a chisel or spud bar to avoid any unpleasant—and potentially tragic—surprises.

The first ice period is magical on all types of walleye fisheries, from natural lakes in the Canadian Shield to prairie potholes, large reservoirs and the Great Lakes. However, focusing on lakes (and areas of lakes) that freeze up first will allow you to enjoy the action faster than waiting for late-freezing spots to ice up.