A LARGE GROUP of anglers got together around a fishing hole Saturday afternoon. They included Tim and Calisa Karst, Buffalo, who caught two sunnies, Myron Carlson, Oak Park, Scott Shutt and Kevin Thomas of Big Lake. (Photos by Gary W. Meyer)

Over 400 brave the cold to fish

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards
The 11th annual Little Hole on Big Lake ice fishing contest did not draw the crowds the Big Lake Area Jaycees were hoping for, but for those who turned out, even a little fish had a chance to win a big prize.
There were over 400 fishermen on the lake and 35 volunteers turned out to help the Jaycees. Last year, the contest attracted over 700 fishermen.
Prize winners were Aaron Oscarson, who won first place in the adult contest with a 1.95 pound Northern. He won a weeks stay at Geiger's Trails End.
Justin Weller was the adult 10th place winner  with a .25 Northern. He took home a 2013 CFMOTO 500 4 x4 ATV from Besser's Bike Barn in St. Cloud. 
First place in the youth competition was Dustin Irvine with a 1.93 lb Northern. He won a Kindle Fire HDX sponsored by DATASuccess.  
The Jaycees selected a new area for the fishing contest, plowing a 150-150 foot area in the middle of the lake  off the end of the sand bar. It was about a half-mile walk from shore with a cold wind blowing.
There was transportation for kids and other weary fisher people in the form of a four-wheeler and trailer.
Contest preparation began around 3 p.m. Friday, after the snowstorm subsided. Jason Rea and Brian Hedtke were busy for hours, clearing the contest area and setting up the middle staging area.
Although it was cold, it was fun out on the ice with musical entertainment and games provided by Dean Downs, and vendors from Big Lake Hardware Hank and Rental and The Jerky Shop were selling bait and snacks. 
Some enterprising fishermen built windbreak walls of snow to help stay warm, others just stayed active or sipped hot beverages purchased out on the ice.
Contest sponsors included Besser’s Bike Barn, Reed’s Family Outfitters, Geiger’s Trails End, McPete’s Sports Bar and Lanes, McDonald’s Meats, Aqua-Vu, HT Enterprises, Tootsies Tavern, Grand Casino Mille Lacs, H2O Outfitters, Dahlheimers Beverage, Dean-O-Mite Entertainment, DATASucess, Big Lake Hardware Hank and Rental, AirMaxx Trampoline Park, Gustafson Trailers, Lofgren Construction, Curds and Cakes, Simply Outdoor Experiences and Red’s Portable Toilets.
For a complete list of winners, go to the Big Lake Forum Facebook page and fine their posting  www.facebook.com/groups/TheBigLakeForum/


Car fire at tribune building

New Superintendent Steve Westerberg

Marcella A. Schill

FIGHTING DESTRUCTIVE INSECTS. State plant health specialists Angie Ambourn, center, and Jennifer Dippel took part in a presentation on the emerald ash borer (EAB) in Elk River Monday morning. The state is partnering with the Sherburne Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in an effort to slow the spread of the insects, which include a survey in which volunteers look for increased woodpecker activity and other natural signs that could indicate an EAB infestation. (Photos by David Hannula)

JODI AND BEN BROWN volunteered to man the Minnesota Grown booth at the state fair last year.