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Extravaganza Press Release and Hot Tips!

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Brainerd, MN - The 18th Annual Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza officials were was formally issued an event permit on Thursday, January 17, 2008, by the Crow Wing County Sherriff's Department. Sgt. Scott Goddard met with the Brainerd Jaycees on Gull Lake's Hole in the Day Bay Thursday to verify the ice conditions. "We found 17 inches of good clear ice and with the forecast we're convinced the conditions are perfectly safe to hold this event." The Extravaganza will be held as scheduled on Saturday, January 26, 2008 from 12:00-3:00 p.m.

Each year this event is held on Gull Lake located seven miles north of Brainerd, MN. The volunteer-run Extravaganza draws over 10,000 anglers annually who compete for over $150,000 in prizes. There are 150 prizes ranging from a new Ford 4x4 to a Glastron Fish and Ski Boat to a number of gift cards and ice fishing accessories. All of the proceeds raised at the three-hour event are donated to area non-profit organizations with Confidence Learning Center- an outdoor camp for persons with developmental disabilities ( - being the primary recipient of the funds.

It takes three days to set-up the event site which becomes the second largest city in Crow Wing County one Saturday each January. There are approximately 20,000 holes pre-drilled for the anglers to choose from. Each year additions and improvements are made to continue to promote this long-running event. This year some of the new items include web-enabled phone access so anglers and spectators alike can track the prize list and event progress; webcam images that will showcase the event in real time; a Youth On-Ice Olympics competition from 9:30-11:00am; and a prize distribution center set-up at Baxter's Mills Fleet Farm. Official and complete updates can be found at

The Brainerd Jaycees are a community and leadership development organization for men and women ages 18-40. Founded in 1939 they have grown to nearly 200 members in the Brainerd Lakes are. Collectively, the members donate over 20,000 people-hours and $250,000 to area charities and causes. For more information on the Brainerd Jaycees visit

Here are a few tips for the big day:

1. Dress Warm-It's much easier just to shed a layer if it unseasonally warm. It is tough to have fun if you are freezing your toes off. Some years it has been 40 degrees others it has been sub zero. So watch the weather report and be prepared. Stocking hats, a good pair of gloves/mittens, and a scarf are all necessities. Handwarmer heat packs always come in handy too.

2. Travel Light- I can always tell who the first timers are. They carry everything but the kitchen sink. I recommend just sticking to the basics. A five gallon pail, ice scoop, a couple of jigging rods/drop lines, small amount of tackle if you like to change, and your flasher unit. A spud bar is nice to have for opening holes that froze over but I've always just borrowed from other anglers when I'm out there. If you don't want to carry your gear bring a small sled.

3. Bring a small amount of Bait- I know I'm probably shooting myself in the foot, but you only need a few minnows and maybe some wax worms or maggots. It's only three hours of fishing. Here at Sportland we have a contest mix that is pre-packaged the morning of the contest. It has pretty much everything you'll need to win the Truck. Plus you will be in and out the doors in no time, it's a real time saver.

4. Support the Charities- Thats what this contest is all about. Eat the food and snacks that are sold out on the ice, there are numerous vendors selling different items. Most of the proceeds go to some really great causes.

5. Use the Parking and Shuttles- Use the parking areas provided. The shuttles run non stop back and forth all day so you can come and go as you wish. It is the easiest way to get to and from the contest area. One parking area is right accross the road from our shop, we are less than 2 miles north of the contest. Another area is at the BIR raceway which is about 4 miles south of the contest area. The shuttles start running at 8:00 am.

6. Just Have Fun- Many anglers take it pretty serious but as we all know after a few years, it really is a game of chance. Anyone can win, even a rookie. If you catch a fish be sure to register, even small fish have won huge prizes. That's what is great about this event. Anyone can win.

7. Fishing Tips- Everyone has their own strategies so I'll leave that one alone. My biggest advice is pay attention to your line. Ask any guide or avid angler and they will probably say that if you pay attention to your line and concentrate on working your bait correctly you will catch more fish. It only takes one bite to take home a prize, you would hate to miss it. Fish where you are comfortable. Contest winners have caught fish anywhere from 6 feet out to 60 feet. I have always just set up somewhere in between.

8. Bait- Some of the best rigs for Gull lake are just the standards. Jigging spoons or bigger tear drop style jigs work well as do bobber set ups with a minnow. Typically the best minnows for the contest will be Golden Shiners, Rainbow Chubs, Fatheads, and Crappie Minnows. As always some guys will catch a few fish using Sucker Minnows, Wax Worms, or Maggots.

9. Gamefish Targets- Anything you catch you can register. Any other day of the year you would hate to see a big ugly eelpout on the end of your line, not today. The fish that are caught every year are Walleyes, Perch, Rock Bass, Eelpout, Tulibees, and the occasional Northern Pike. This year you should see plenty of Walleyes. If you catch a fish please bring it up to the scales in a bucket/bag of water. It'll help out the release efforts.

I hope this helps out some of the new anglers to the contest. From myself and everyone here at Dave's Sportland Bait and Tackle we wish every angler the best of luck in this years contest.

Jason Erlandson

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A quick note that may effect some regarding vehicles on the lake during the Extravaganza. The sheriff stated yesterday that the Hole in the Day Bay access will be 100 percent closed. This means trucks, cars, snowmobiles, ATV's etc as of 10:00pm on Friday, the 25th. Other Access such as Grandview and Koobs(sp?) Will be monitored by Nisswa/Cass County/Lakeshore departments. They said they will not allow vehicle traffic off of these but defined that as trucks & cars. Sounded like ATV's would be OK but if it gets crazy, they will close them completely. A big concern is the possibility of new ice heaves with as fast as the ice is growing. They could pop up anywhere real fast, so be careful out there. My suggestion, Use the parking & shuttles. It's actually pretty efficient and you don't have to worry about how to get your prize off the ice. This year, the prizes are being distributed at Fleet Fram follwoing the contest and Sunday till 1:00. Good luck everyone!

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