Ice, fishing and a family-friendly atmosphere. That’s what awaits those who come to the St. Michael Lions Ice Fishing Contest from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at Beebe Lake in St. Michael.

Due to the pandemic, the event was canceled in 2021, but 2022 promises bites on hooks.

“It’s meant to be a fun community-building event for the community to find something to do in the wintertime,” Chris Fischer, co-chair of the St. Michael Lions Ice Fishing Contest said. He co-chairs the event with Lion Joe Dehmer.

As a partnership with the Beebe Lake Association, some of the proceeds will go back to the Beebe Lake Association as well as the St. Michael Lions, who in turn provide community support.

Contestants can win a $100 prize for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place for all three contest categories – biggest crappie, sunfish and northern. The entry fee is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

“It’s kid-friendly,” Fischer said. “The people who participate come to have a good time and build a sense of community.”

The local Boy Scouts will be at the event serving food and proceeds will go back to the troop. Hardware Hank in St. Michael and Northern Dewatering also support the event through donations for the grand prizes. A raffle will be held for extra prizes. First prize for the raffle is $500, second prize is a Blackstone 28’ griddle and the third-place winner will receive a DeWalt propane heater.

There will be 600 to 700 holes drilled into the lake before the event. The Lions anticipate around 500 people will attend.

Portable pop-up fish houses are allowed as of this year. Wheelhouses are also allowed on the outside perimeter of the lake and must be within 100 feet of the contest perimeter. A donation of $10 to the Lions is suggested for the use of wheelhouses during the contest.

“We’re allowing those this year for the first time so people can be a little bit more comfortable since they’re so popular,” Fischer said.

According to Fischer, in the past the Lions were hesitant to allow portable pop-up fish houses and wheelhouses because it would be easier to cheat. Fischer figured the benefits outweighed the possibility of cheating.

“We want more people to have a better opportunity to come out,” Fischer said. “They can go in there and warm up. We want it to be more inclusive for everyone.”

Some yearly participants come early to the event to stake their claim to what they consider the best fishing spots, but Fischer said it’s a fairly relaxed fishing experience and not overly competitive.

“It’s a good time, people have fun, and there’s music,” he said. “A little bit of a party, but it’s family-friendly.”

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