Impressive catches reeled in during Londo Lake Ice Fishing Tournament | Entertainment

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PRIZE-WORTHY PIKE – Wyatt Irwin hoists this sizeable, 33.25-inch pike he caught during the Feb. 19 ice fishing tournament in Hale, which earned him a first place prize in the 13-18 age division.

HALE – Fun, family-friendly and completely free is what the Londo Lake Ice Fishing Tournament is all about, and this theme was carried on during the 2022 event on Saturday, Feb. 19.

Organizers don’t charge anglers to enter a fish or participate, and this year’s contest also happened to occur during the state’s Free Fishing Weekend on Feb. 19-20. This is when fishing license fees are waived and, while all regulations still apply, anyone can cast a line in any inland body of water or the Great Lakes, in search of all species of fish.


SNAGGING A SHANTY – Bill, Kelsie, Billy and Brandon Wicker joined the fun at the annual ice fishing tournament on West Londo Lake and East Londo Lake in Hale, where Brandon was the winner of the fishing shanty drawing. Several minnow buckets and an ice auger were also raffled off during the event, while each participant 18 and under went home with their choice of either a new jig pole or tip-up. Prizes were awarded to all of the tournament’s first place finishers, in three different age categories, as well.

Those who opted to join the ice fishing tournament in Hale, could try their luck at both West Londo Lake and East Londo Lake as part of the competition.

Several community members come together each year to put on the event, which is run by Rick Weaver. Ryan Sheldon was also one of the organizers and, according to he and his wife, Cindy Sheldon – who provided all of the photos which accompany this story – others who coordinated the 2022 tournament were Rick Braun, Eric Bellville, Brian Bernard, Ron Bassi, Ron Lesneski, Ed Hodgins, Dave Kern, Ted Rafferty and Shawn Foco.

As has also been the case in past events, the wintertime activity this February again offered a heated tent to participants, where free hot dogs and hot chocolate were served.

A sign-in area was set up near the West Londo Lake public access on Plainfield Road, and the tournament commenced at 8 a.m. Contestants vied to catch the largest bluegill, sunfish, crappie or other pan fish, as well as pike and perch, after which the weigh-in was held at about 4 p.m.


CONTENDER – Mia Shimkit, seen here outside the warming tent on West Londo Lake in Hale, took home a first place prize in the 12 and under division at the Feb. 19 ice fishing tournament. She caught the largest pan fish, which measured 10.75 inches, in her age group.

Prizes were then awarded to the top anglers in three different age categories – 12 and under, 13-18 and the adult division for those 19 and older.

Cindy Sheldon added that along with each winner taking home a prize for their fish, and several minnow buckets being raffled off during the occasion, every child 18 and younger received their choice of either a jig pole or tip-up. There was also a drawing for a fishing shanty, which went to Brandon Wicker, while the winner of a new ice auger was Gamma Keetch.


FREE FESTIVITIES – Organizers and sponsors of the 2022 Londo Lake Ice Fishing Tournament ensured once again that the annual event was completely free. Along with the contest itself, this included a tent where participants could warm up and enjoy hot dogs and cocoa. Among the anglers were Kyran Johnson, seen here, who won the first place pike title in the 12 and under category for this 28-incher.

This year, organizers awarded prizes to the first place finishers in each age group, and for each of the three species noted above. The 2022 Londo Lake Ice Fishing Tournament champions, and the type and sizes of their catches, are as follows:

Logan Wade, perch, 10 inches; Kyran Johnson, pike, 28 inches; and Mia Shimkit, pan fish, 10.75 inches.

Landon Caverly, perch, 7 and 7/8 inches; Wyatt Irwin, pike, 33.25 inches; and Carl Nihranz, pan fish, 10.75 inches.

Ken McDonald, perch, 10½ inches; Cameron Miller, pike, 29.25 inches; and Trinity Pauquette, crappie, 11¼ inches.

An honorable mention also went to one of the younger competitors, Cooper Irwin, for bringing in a 26.75-inch perch.


BUNDLED UP – Decked out in her color-coordinated winter wear, Charlotte Zagacki showcases her jig fishing skills at the Londo Lake Ice Fishing Tournament on Feb. 19.

Although Mother Nature was not in their favor that day, and a number of people backed out of the contest because of the harsh weather, Ryan Sheldon says there were still an admirable 87 entries.

He pointed out that the event is open to everyone but is mainly devoted to the children, and that even more prizes were included for the winners in 2022. Organizers intend to continue building up the tournament, and making it bigger and better each year.


CONQUERING THE ICE – Bluegill/other pan fish, pike and perch were the species sought out by anglers during the Londo Lake Ice Fishing Tournament in Hale. There were three different age groups of participants, and prizes were awarded in each division to those who caught the largest of the three fish species. Two such winners, pictured here, are Carl Nihranz, left, who earned first place in the 13-18 age category for his 10.75-inch pan fish, and Cameron Miller, who won the first place pike title in the adult group for his 29.25-inch catch.

The sponsors of the latest event were T Wade Concrete Contractors, Hale Hardware, Timlick’s Tree Service, Eno Construction, Wilson Trucking & Excavating, Town and Country Water Conditioning, Kel Stone Builders, Frank’s Great Outdoors, Northwoods Wholesale Outlet, Baker’s Outdoor Sports, Whitetails Unlimited, Scofield Real Estate and Dave and Ronna Kern.