Jake and Kellen Johnson tried ice fishing for the first time last winter.
It was fun enough for the Litchfield father and son to invest in a little better equipment and venture out a few more times this winter, including one excursion when they landed a 28-inch walleye on a local lake.
The fishing didn’t offer quite that big a prize Saturday afternoon at Lake Ripley. In fact, the biggest challenge was staying warm on a day when the day’s high temperature hovered in the single digits below-0, with a brisk wind that offered a “feels like” temperature of minus-18.
But the pair braved the cold, along with hundreds of others, to participate in the Wintercade fishing tournament on Lake Ripley. Jake Johnson said he and his son had been looking forward to the tournament, and even the arctic temperatures did not deter them from participating. And, well, it helped that his truck was parked nearby and they could go there to warm up when necessary.
Tickets for the tournament sold out early this year, and the fishing area was packed with anglers, vehicles and fish houses Saturday, while some opted simply to watch Facebook Live video from a warmer location to monitor prize drawings.
In any case, the tournament — which raises money for youth and veterans programs throughout the area — was counted as a big success.