Forest Preserve District of DuPage County hosted the popular Hard Water Classic Ice Fishing Tournament, this past Saturday, January 13, on the 62-acre Silver Lake, at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville.
Anglers of all ages braved the cold weather for a total headcount of 314 registrants.
DuPage CVB had the chance to interview some of the competitors – including veterans of the sport with over 60 years of ice fishing experience as well as novices as young as 12 years old with 7 years of ice fishing experience.
It was clear from watching and interviewing the attendees that the tournament was a friendly competition, that comradery within fishing circles is real, and that fishing culture is a thing – a father and son thing, a whole family thing, a best buddies getting together thing, a girls can do it too thing, and a spirit of adventure only true outdoor enthusiasts who love the experience can understand thing.
The top three catches of largemouth bass, bluegill, northern pike and crappie received gift cards of $125, $100 and $75 to local sporting goods stores. The angler with the largest fish overall won a gas-powered auger or ice shelter. Registrants also had a chance to win door prizes, such as a manual auger, ice shelter, tip-ups and rod-and-reel combinations. One woman caught herself a nice fish, and took home a few goodies.
Proceeds support ranger-led recreation programs that provide outdoor experiences for special-needs groups, youth groups, Scouts and community-resource centers in DuPage County.
Established in 1915. The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County manages over 25,000 acres of prairies, woodlands and wetlands. Each year, over 4.3 million visitors enjoy the District’s 60 Forest preserves, 145 miles of trails, five education centers, and scores of scheduled programs and events.
Be sure to get your fishing gear ready for next year’s competition, and enjoy winter while it lasts.
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