When Jake Walsh pulled a nearly half-pound perch out of Green Lake Sunday, he knew he had a keeper.
But little did he know, he also had a winner.
Walsh’s .47-pound perch won the top prize in the 2012 Princeton Lion’s Club ice fishing contest held Sunday on Green Lake in Isanti County.
The contest, originally scheduled for Feb. 12, had been delayed a week because of unseasonably warm weather that has compromised the ice conditions. But the delay didn’t stop about 400 people from turning out for 2.5 hours of ice fishing fun.
After a week of cold weather there were 15 to 16 inches of ice on the lake, according to Lion Scott Liestman.
With the approval of the Isanti Sheriff’s Department, the contest was allowed to proceed — under one condition.
Only vehicles belonging to members of the Lions’ fishing committee were allowed on the ice.
Cars where parked along the road and shuttle vehicles transported participants on and off the ice.
The weather did take its toll on the event, however. Participation was down about 600 people from last year. There were 400 people registered to fish compared to about 1,000 last year, Liestman said.
But the fund-raising associated with the event remained strong.
“This has always been one of our biggest fund-raisers. Despite the lower turnout we still had a great event and raised approximately $7,000,” Liestman said.
Proceeds go to many projects, including Lions Eye Bank, Cando Canines, Leader Dogs and many, many more.
Although the largest fish caught weighed just .47 pounds, more fish were caught than most years, Liestman said.
1st, Jake Walsh, .47 perch, $1500, donated by Crystal Cabinets/Princeton Lions
2nd, Nick Nystorm, .44 crappie, Strike Master Gas Auger, donated by Princeton Lions
3rd, Savanah Carpentier, .43 perch, Eskimo Pop-up Fish House, donated by Scheels Allsports
4th, Angie Evans, .42 perch, Grand Casino Overnight Package, donated by Grand Casino
5th, Paul Kanne, .38 crappie, Les Kouba print, donated by RJ Picture Framing
6th, Heather Grotberg, .37 crappie, Fry Papa Fry Pan/Designer Phone, donated by Glenn Metalcraft/Windsteam
7th, Wade Frederickson, .36 perch, 2 Rounds Golf w/Cart, donated by Princeton Golf Course
8th, Richard Walsh, .36 perch, Bird Feeder, donated by Central Feed Services
9th, Steve Bergeron, .36 perch, Hand Ice Auger, donated by Strike Master
10th, Amanda Paradise, .35 bass, Strike Master Gas Auger, donated by Sidmar Manufacturing