Hoping for some 'ice, ice, baby'

A few hearty souls braved the ice cover at Kahle Lake last week to get some ice fishing time in. The annual Foxburg Ice Fishing Tournament is coming up Jan. 30 and the lead organizer is hoping for the ice to increase in thickness over the next week and half. The tournament draws a large number of participants.

SALEM TWP. - Chuck Gisselbrecht is hoping for some more cold nights cold nights make good ice and good ice means some good ice fishing.

Gisselbrecht, a member of the Friends of Kahle Lake, an all-volunteer group, also is a lead organizer of the Foxburg Ice Fishing Tournament set for Jan. 30 at Kahle Lake in Salem Township.

"I'm getting the itch," Gisselbrecht said last week in a telephone conversation with the CLARION NEWS. "I want to get out there."

According to Gisselbrecht, an ice thickness of four-inches is considered "safe ice."

Last week there were spots, Gisselbrecht said, where the ice was about three inches thick but there was also a lot of open water. Nevertheless, Gisselbrecht noted, there were some diehard ice fishermen out on the ice.

As mentioned above, the ice needs to be at least four inches thick, but also, the ice must touch the shoreline.

If the ice does not meet those standards, the tournament will be canceled and all entry fees will be refunded.

Various weather and climate information sources indicate ice on a lake will grow at a rate of about half an inch per day at a constant daily temperature average of 20 degrees.

Ice permitting, the tournament will run from 6 a.m. until 4 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Kahle Lake south launch Jan. 26 near Lamartine.

The tournament

If the weather cooperates and the ice forms to required thickness, tournament registration is open and the majority of entrants are usually local anglers and repeat enthusiasts, but there are entries from as far away as Commodore, Vandergrift and Pittsburgh.

"We usually have about 38 two-person teams," Gisselbrecht said of the 7-year-old event. "So we'll have somewhere around 75 to 80 people on the ice."

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three weigh-ins and the prize amounts are based on the number of registered teams. A cash prize will also be awarded to the heaviest single fish for those participants who enter the optional big fish pool.

The winning tournament entry will be the heaviest weigh-in of five panfish species: bluegill, crappie or perch. Species for weigh-in can be a single species or combined.

Contestants can weigh in at any time during the tournament, but only once. Contestants must be in line to weigh-in by 3:45 p.m.

Cash prizes are $400 for first-place, $100 for second and $75 for third. The heaviest fish contest pays out $100. Prize amounts could increase with higher participation.

Food and hot beverages will be available throughout the day.

A portion of the proceeds from entries and food sales this year will benefit the Emlenton Rod and Gun Club's kiddie fishing derby.

"We like to use a portion of the money raised to give back to groups that help and support Kahle Lake," explained Gisselbrecht.

Gisselbrecht said representatives from Western Pennsylvania Hardwater Series will be assisting with the tournament and will supply some of the prizes for the drawings.

"They're really good guys and we look forward to having them there," said Gisselbrecht.

Get in on the fun

Early registration is open until Jan. 21 by mailing a check to Chuck Gisselbrecht at P.O. Box 144, Foxburg, Pa., 16036, for $35 per team, $40 if you would like to enter the big fish pool.

After Jan. 22, late registration will be done at the south launch from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. the day of the tournament for $40 per team, $45 if you would like to enter the big fish pool.

Teams can be an individual or two-person team.

All Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission rules apply.