By Jennifer Eisenbart


As a slave to Wisconsin winter weather, local ice fishing tournaments can be an adventure.

It was last year for the Burlington Jaycees, who held their annual “Off the Hook” ice fishing derby on what president Justin Mueller called the worst day of the winter – blowing snow, single-digit temperatures and wind chills well below zero.

“We probably had 60 people that were there,” Mueller said. “The struggle was, some people couldn’t see 10 feet out in front of them.”

But while temperatures will be in the teens this week, with a high of 11 forecast for the event, Saturday’s derby should be lacking last year’s dramatic conditions.

“It’s supposed to be chilly, but no snow,” Mueller said. “And we have a heated tent.”

Tickets for the ice-fishing derby are $5 per person, with a ticket needed to register a fish. All fish must be alive.

Following the fishing, though, is the other part of the Jaycees’ event success – the numerous raffles.

“We continue doing it because we have success each year with it,” Mueller said. “It’s something different to get outside. People enjoy ice fishing and people enjoy raffles.”

This year, in addition to the 50-50 and meat raffles, three guns will be raffled – a DPMS Panther Oracle AR-15, a Henry Model H001 Leve-Action .22 and a SigSauer p250 compact 9-millimeter handgun.

Fishing at the event runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., with raffle drawings starting at 2:30 p.m. Beer and brats will be available for purchase, and there will be payouts for various prize fish.