Download high-res images here
GARRISON, Minnesota – Feb. 20, 2020 – Fishing for Ducks Ice Fishing Contest, the largest Ducks Unlimited (DU) event in the nation, drew more than 4,000 anglers for a successful day of ice fishing on Mille Lacs Lake on Feb. 15.
The event raised more than $175,000 for Ducks Unlimited’s wetlands and waterfowl conservation efforts.
Fishing for Ducks began 16 years ago when local DU volunteers created a unique event to support waterfowl and wetland conservation. The town of Garrison, with a population of less than 200, grows exponentially for the day when participants descend on the lake.
This year’s event was supported by more than 250 Ducks Unlimited volunteers and featured numerous raffles and more than $100,000 in prizes. Wood duck houses were given to youth and prizes were awarded for the 100 largest fish caught. Fishing for Ducks includes a pre-event party Friday evening.
Garrison Chapter Ducks Unlimited volunteers spent three days on the lake setting up tents and temporary buildings that acted as a registration area, restaurant and bar, raffle center and warm-up area. Volunteers worked with a local engineering firm to plow a 50-acre outline of the Ducks Unlimited logo that served as contest boundaries.
The day began at 5 a.m. when volunteers drilled more than 7,000 holes for contestants. Participants started arriving at 7 a.m., doors opened at 9 a.m., and participants fished from noon to 3 p.m.
Greg Erickson, volunteer and event chairman, said the event is a fun way to bring together a mix of outdoors enthusiasts to raise money for wetlands conservation.
“It’s a friendly mix of friends, families, kids and adults, some of whom are serious ice anglers and some who fish for 20 minutes and then socialize in the tents,” Erickson said. “There are games, raffles, food and a bar to keep people warm.”
A giant digital monitor projected the leaderboard throughout the day, as participants mixed fishing with eating, talking and playing raffles. The winning fish was a walleye weighing in at 3.37 lbs., caught by Robert Scott of Garrison. Scott took home a $20,000 prize for largest fish.
Raising funds for wetlands conservation is fitting at an event held at Mille Lacs Lake. Wetland habitats are crucial for the health of lakes in Minnesota, as more wetlands mean better fishing and waterfowling.
The event was presented in partnership with Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Clam Outdoors.
The winning fish was a walleye weighing in at 3.37 lbs., caught by Robert Scott of Garrison. Scott took home a $20,000 prize for largest fish. See a complete photo gallery.
See more videos and photos at the Fishing For Ducks Facebook page, www.facebook.com/fishingforducks.