Earning its name from the amount of money it has raised each year for local charities, the Brainerd Jaycee’s $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza is the world’s largest ice fishing event. Every January, the Brainerd Jaycees host this tournament on Hole-in-the-Day Bay of Gull Lake. Visible from the Grand View beach, thousands of people gather to compete for the biggest catch, looking to win prizes like fishing poles, ice augers, vacations, and most importantly, a brand new truck.
The event started in 1990 when the Brainerd Jaycee’s decided they wanted to create a signature event that embraced our community while also celebrating the season. Being that we are the land of 10,000 lakes and have cold winters, it only seemed fitting to create the world’s largest ice fishing event. After years of perfecting, they have record-breaking participation that reaches over 10,000 people each winter. Men, women, and kids flock from around the world solely out of curiosity of the tournament to watch or fish.
Although the tournament is focused on ice fishing, that isn’t the only thing to enjoy for the weekend. The festivities begin Friday night with a Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos Kickoff Party. You can enjoy a night of drinks and food while laughing with your friends (for an additional cost). Deuces Wild is considered one of the best piano shows in the Midwest. They travel the world putting on events for many occasions, whether it’s private parties, nightclubs, or even Grand View Lodge.
After Friday’s fun, wake up Saturday and start your day with Grand View’s famous “mile-long” breakfast. (OK, it’s not a mile, but some consider it to be based on the plethora of options.) You won’t find another buffet like it in the area, and as a guest, it’s included in your package. Participants aren’t allowed on the ice until 8:00 am, so pass some time with a hearty breakfast, get your gear together, and head down to our beachfront. From there Grand View will shuttle you to the inspection zone on the ice. They will then check your bags, gear, and bait, and send you through to pick out your hole.
The official fishing tournament begins at noon. Each individual is allowed one pole per hole, with a maximum of two holes. Once you catch a fish, you bring it directly to the weigh-in tent. The fish must be alive when presented for weigh-in. Throughout the day you can register as many fish as you can catch, but only the largest will be eligible for a prize. During the contest, there are also random drawings. For an additional $10.00 per ticket, you can enter for the prizes given away throughout the day.
On the ice, there are food tents, shops, and Grand View’s Hospitality Tent (available to Grand View guests only). Our Hospitality Tent is top notch. Get there early after choosing your fishing location to grab a bite to eat, something to drink, and warm up before the games begin. With exclusive access as a guest, you can receive everything for FREE; beer, hot chocolate, coffee, chili and hot dogs. And we generally have some fire pits outside of the tent so you can warm up your fingers and brag to everyone else on just how ‘exclusive’ you are.
The Grand View Lodge shuttles will bring our guests back and forth to the property until after the 3 pm winner announcements. Head back to your cabin and crank up the fireplace, or stroll over to the Northwoods Pub for food and drinks—the choice is yours!
Don’t forget all this fun is actually a huge fundraiser. The Ice Fishing Extravaganza is completely volunteer run and all event proceeds are donated to area charities. The primary beneficiary is Confidence Learning Center, an outdoor recreational facility and camp for individuals with developmental disabilities. In addition, over 60 organizations in the Brainerd Lakes Area have received donations throughout the event’s history, which has exceeded a total $3.3 million.
Grand View has partnered with the Brainerd Jaycee’s to create a package for all of the weekend’s spectators and participants. The package is built for fun, safety, and convenience. For a starting fee of just $164 per night, everyone receives breakfast daily, FREE shuttles to the event, and access to Grand View Lodge amenities. Now, you don’t have to participate in the fishing contest to get in on the fun. Spectators are allowed in for free and as guests on this package, receive everything, including the Hospitality Tent.
So join in the fun this January. Call early for this package to get the best lodging options at the most convenient location. Don’t miss out on the world’s largest ice fishing tournament! Call 1-866-801-2951 or purchase online. Hope to see you there!