Anglers skunked at Alexandria's Ice Challenge
By: By Eric Morken, Staff Reporter, Alexandria Echo Press
The committee for this year's Alexandria Ice Fishing Challenge decided to move the tournament to Lake Agnes for the first time with the hopes of catching bigger fish and adding some traffic to Alexandria downtown businesses.
The latter of those two was accomplished but the bite on the ice was nonexistent. More than 2,000 anglers packed the concourse but not a single one caught a fish. It was something that Ice Fishing Challenge co-chair Eddie Reif never saw coming.
"We brought it over to Agnes with the hopes of increasing the traffic to downtown Alexandria businesses," he said. "I think we accomplished that today. We know this is a good lake for fishing in the summer time and we have had a lot of people who said this is a great lake for fishing in the winter, as well.
"But this year we had a tough go. We’ll try to see what we can do in the future as far as new venues. We don’t know if it was the weather, if it was the amount of people out here. It’s a tricky thing to try to control everything, including the fish bite."
Reif and the rest of the committee had already made a decision on what to do with the prize money that did not get handed out. All the cash prizes from the tournament will be put in the purse for next year's event. Reif said that will definitely be at a different location, whether that is going back to L'Homme Dieu or another lake, and their goal is to make it bigger and better than ever.
"Overall I think it’s going to be well received, the way we are handling it," Reif said. "That’s the best we can do. We’re not keeping this money for ourselves. It’s not like we’re taking this and running.
"We’re taking this very seriously and we’re going to add it to next year’s pot. So hopefully next year we are going to have an even bigger tournament, we’re definitely going to have more cash prizes. So plan on coming next year at a new location."
Cash prizes for the raffle drawing were handed out with Alexandria's Mike Dolan winning the top $10,000 prize.