More than 700 anglers compete in 3 Lakes Ice Fishing Tournament
It was overcast and cloudy but anglers at the 27th Annual 3 Lakes Ice Fishing Tournament enjoyed unseasonably warm temperatures for the weekend event.
Event organizers did not have official figures Tuesday but estimated participation at over 700. The fisherman wetted their lines last weekend with most plunging their augers into the surface of Lake Granby. Their red and blue shelters dotted the flat landscape and stood in sharp contrast to the stark gray-white of the lake behind them. Four-wheelers and snowmobiles crisscrossed the surface of the frozen expanse.
Mother Nature was cooperative in the run-up to the tournament with temperatures dipping low in the days before the event, allaying concerns that Lake Granby might not be frozen for the competition. The cold snap faded for the weekend, though, and contestants even got a bit of sunshine Sunday as the cloud cover broke throughout the valley.
The tournament brought contestants from far and wide with a significant number from the Front Range.
Ron Mangean was up in the high country from Aurora. He said he’s been coming to the 3 Lakes Ice Fishing Tournament for 15 years. He was enjoying the warmer temperatures and noted he has fished the tournament in years past when the temperature was well below zero. Mangean had decent luck on Friday, catching four fish, but was still empty-handed Saturday morning.
According to Weather Underground’s website, http://www.wunderground.com, the high in Granby was 37 degrees Sunday and 13 degrees on Saturday. The higher temperatures resulted in standing open water in a few areas along the shores of Lake Granby on Sunday.
A number of local folks also took part in the tournament. The Koczera family was reeling them in Saturday morning. Bartosz Koczera, a Middle Park High School graduate and engineering student at CU, pulled out a 36 1/2 inch lake trout early Saturday morning. The massive fish weighed 15 pounds but was too big to count in the main tournament.
Tournament participants were awarded prizes based on fish weight on a daily basis. Fish presented for weighing only competed against other fish weighed on the same day. The overall biggest brown trout taken during the tournament was caught by Tom Brueggeman on Saturday and weighed 2.96 pounds. Brueggeman also took top honors for the largest rainbow trout caught during the weekend when he pulled out a 2.82 pounder on Sunday. The largest Mackinaw was taken early, on Friday, by Joseph Martinez and weighed 2.4 pounds.
A Grand Slam contest was also held during the tournament where participants could combine the weight of four fish: mackinaw, rainbow trout, brown trout and kokanee salmon. Christopher Hannath had the largest Grand Slam weight with 4.94 pounds when he weighed them in on Friday.
Children also participated in the 3 Lakes Ice Fishing Tournament in their own age based categories. The top 5 & Under angler for the weekend was Quincy Harms, who caught a 1.64-pound fish on Sunday. Young Christopher Mullines took home the biggest fish from the 6-9-year-old division with a 2.06 pounder. A young lady led the pack in the 10-14-year-old division. Savannah Spaulding caught a 1.99-pound fish on Saturday. Bryce Weimer was the top finisher for the 15-17-year old division with his 1.68-pound catch on Sunday.
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Due to current public health guidance, there will not be an in-person wilderness campsite lottery for Rocky Mountain National Park this year.