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Annual Bis-Man Ice Fishing Derby at Lake Audubon designed for youth and fun

Kim Fundingsland/MDN There was a record number of entries in the recent Bis-Man Reel & Rec Ice Fishing Derby. Limited snow cover and warm temperatures made for perfect conditions for the event on Lake Audubon.

COLEHARBOR – Smiling faces were abundant and laughter common on the ice at Lake Audubon. The occasion was the annual Bis-Man Reel & Rec Ice Fishing Derby held Feb. 22.

“As long as everyone is having fun, we’re happy,” said Wayne Blohm, Bismarck. “Today the weather is just awesome and the kids are having fun. The fish are biting nicely for them too.”

Blohm was one of the volunteer members of the Bis-Man club who was inside the club’s on-the-ice headquarters for the event. He was busy weighing walleye and perch brought in by entrants and handing out free fishing lures to youngsters.

One of the smiling young fishermen who brought a walleye to be officially weighed was Lincoln Kolden of Garrison. He was fishing with his father, Craig Kolden, when he hooked into a walleye. It was among the earliest of the walleye weighed and it wound up being the biggest of the day, about 1.5 pounds.

The size of the fish wasn’t the most important thing. Far more telling was the smile on the youngster’s face and grin from his father.

“I get to take out my child for his first ever tournament. It’s a dream come true for me already,” said Craig Kolden. “We come out here just to have fun. There’s no serious competition and that’s a good thing. This is great!”

A few minutes before young Kolden had his fish officially weighed another father and son were at the scale, Brian and Colton Perkerewicz, of Washburn.

“We caught one and are going back for more,” said Brian Perkerewicz. “It’s great to be with my son, Colton. I always take him out when I have a chance, hunting and fishing.”

According to Blohm’s count there were 99 kids participating in the kid’s fishing derby, a separate event from the adult derby. As of late-morning at the tournament there were 339 adults entered and a few more were still wandering in to register. It was the largest turnout ever for the event. The weather was particularly pleasant too, virtually no wind, sunshine and temperatures in the mid-30’s.

With many fishing tournaments boasting big payoffs for top finishers, the enjoyable aspect of participating and being outdoors can get overwhelmed by the intensity of competition. The Bis-Man Ice Fishing Derby is formatted to avoid too serious a competition that might detract from having fun while achieving club goals.

“Our proceeds go to our “Take A Kid Fishing” in June to help out underprivileged kids,” said Blohm. “That’s what our club is for, to help out kids and our community.”

Bis-Man Reel & Rec is a big club that boasts nearly 700 members. The amount of members and special fundraising events allows the club to donate monies to various parks, fishing cleaning station, playgrounds, tree plantings and other outdoor causes.

Among the many anglers enjoying their day on the ice at Audubon was Jane Reisenauer of Minot. She doesn’t ice fish often but wasn’t about to miss the chance to take part in the Audubon derby.

“I have my family here, my grandkids, I haven’t been out ice fishing in a long time,” said Reisenauer. “It’s fun.”

Kaleb Gray, Minot, was in the family group that brought a perch and a walleye to the scale.

“I really like fishing and family,” said Gray. “This is really fun!”

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