Thirteen years ago, Catfish Bay owner Jim Bruns had an idea. He wanted to create
A family wintertime event for Sioux Falls at Catfish Bay. The proceeds would help raise money for the volunteer Catfish Bay Water Ski Team and Camp OnAqua.
He wanted to make Ice Fish Fest an annual family event that would grow and become South Dakota's largest ice fishing tournament and draw participants from across the country.
Back then, Jim was hoping to have a few hundred people. Well, he got them. But last year over 1100 people decided to join the party!
When we spoke to him prior to last year's event, they were getting ready to drill about 1,000 holes & obviously had to get the drills back out the day of the event.
With over $25,000 in prizes, they had no problem attracting people from
as far away as California and Arizona. The person from California had never been on ice before and that was fun to watch!- -Jim Bruns/Catfish Bay owner
They ended up giving away the $5,000 prize for the biggest fish caught and all the rest of the cash, door, and raffle prizes too!
So the mission was accomplished and continues on!
You don't want to miss this year's frosty bash! Ice Fish Fest 2023 is Saturday, January 28 at Catfish Bay from 10:30 when the gates open to about 5 PM when the awards program ends.
This year's competition has over $35,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs, including that $5,000 for the biggest fish caught!
You could win a TV, a Traeger Grill, sports equipment, electronics, tools, and more, plus there is the Raffle on Ice and even more prizes in the Youth Division too!
Here is the day's schedule:
- 10:30 Gates Open
- 12:00 PM Start Picking Your Fishing Hole
- 12:45 PM VIP Pick Your Spot Raffle & Otter Shack Package Drawing
- 1 to 4 PM Fishing Tournament
- 4:15 to 5 PM (Approximate Awards Times)
All funds raised do go to support the Catfish Bay volunteer ski team and their week-long wet-n-wild Camp OnAqua for kids ages 8 to 13. Kids learn a lot about water skiing and while they are having a ton of fun, they build confidence and make a bunch of new friends too!
Sources: Jim Bruns/Catfish Bay Owner, Ice Fish Fest Facebook page & Dakota News Now