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Fountain Lake ice fishing contest in Albert Lea Today

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Ice fishermen young and old alike will have the opportunity this weekend to make some money off of their hobby during the second annual Fountain Lake Sportsmen’s Club Superhole Sunday Ice Fishing Contest.

Organizers said last year almost 400 people participated in the event; this year, they’re hoping to double that number.

The contest goes from noon to 2 p.m. at City Beach in Albert Lea.

Participants pay $5 a line, with proceeds supporting future Sportsmen’s Club activities including Take A Kid Fishing, Cub Scout fishing, Arc fishing, senior fishing and the kids fishing expo.

“These kinds of events are what makes it possible for us to do other things, too,” said club Vice President Lance Frank. “Yes, it’s a contest and, yes, there are prizes, but ultimately it’s a fundraiser.”

Club President Dave Villarreal said the event resurfaced last year after almost a decade hiatus. High insurance costs had forced the club to stop hosting the contest, but now the club is able to start it up again.

Villarreal said the goal of the event is to get people out of the house and to help people realize they can enjoy the lakes year-round.

Last year the contest was held near the Fountain Lake Park gazebo but it was moved toward City Beach this year because people have been catching more fish there, Villarreal said.

In last year’s contest, only one fish was caught.

If you go

What: Superhole Sunday 2010 Ice Fishing Contest

When: Sunday, noon to 2 p.m.; hole-drilling contest starts at 10 a.m.

Where: City Beach, Albert Lea

Cost: $5 a line with proceeds supporting future Fountain Lake Sportsmen’s Club activities; entry tickets available on event day only.

Prizes for the contest include the following: first place, $250 cash; second, $150; third, $100; fourth, $50; and fifth, $25.

There will also be raffles, a silent auction and a $1,000 prize for the fifth largest Northern. Food and drinks will also be available.

Participants are allowed to bring their fish houses if they choose, but they have to be open for inspection.

In addition, at 10 a.m., there will be a hole-drilling contest with a 100 percent payout. Cost is $5 entry per two-man team. The purpose of the contest will be to see how many holes can be drilled in a 15-minute span, Villarreal said.

Villarreal and Frank said last year people came from Hayfield, Rochester and even Mankato to participate in the event. This year, they got a call from a man near Fergus Falls who is hoping to come down for the contest.

“We’re happy to see that and excited to see that,” Frank said.

The ice fishing contest is just one of several events the club hosts throughout the year. There are events going on 10 months out of the year.

On Feb. 13, the club will help sponsor the a Take A Kid Ice Fishing event during The Big Freeze winter festival. Ice fishing rods will be given out to the first 50 kids, and Home Depot has donated some buckets.

There will be a mini-seminar about ice safety and the basics of fishing and then the kids will be able to try out their luck.

The club’s biggest event is Take A Kid Fishing in June. During this event, the club gives out free fishing poles to each child under the age of 16, and tackle, bait and other fishing equipment are also available for children who need it.

During 2009, the club also started a fishing expo, where more than 400 children came through more than 20 different stations to learn some of the basics of fishing.

Villarreal said the club wants to see 50 percent growth in the expo this year. It’s scheduled for March 27.

The club members are also starting a family fishing league to try and get kids off the couch and doing something fun with their moms, dads, grandpas or grandmas, he said.

The club also volunteers to clean up Minnesota Highway 13, is involved with restocking the lakes with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and also had a part in the recent Pickerel Lake fish kill.

With all of its events, Villarreal said the club could use additional members.

The club meets the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the American Legion. There are annual dues of $7 per individual or $10 per family.

Frank said there are currently 117 members in the database.

To view more of the upcoming events of the Fountain Lake Sportsmen’s Club, go to www.fountainlakesportsmensclub.org.

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