Over 100 people were up bright and early to get their taste of ice fishing and chili Saturday. I was lucky enough to go out on this exciting adventure.
There were tons of ice fishing tournaments this weekend in town, but over 100 people made their way to the 11th Annual Norway Party Store Ice Fishing and Chili Cook-Off.
Traveling from downstate, and even out of state, men, women, and children gathered on a warm Saturday hoping to catch a walleye, or pike. Norway storeowner and tournament organizer, Roland Frey said it was a perfect day for ice fishing.
“I don’t know how we got blessed with beautiful weather like this, but we did. The guys are out, the girls are out, the kids are out, the community is together all fishing on this beautiful day and it’s a lot of fun,” Frey said.
The frozen ice on Thunder Bay River was about 10 inches thick. Frey said the tournament was not only a way to enjoy friends and family, but also a way to remember, Justin Wieschowcki who was a 2-time winner but past away a couple years ago.
“I’ve known the kid for a long time. He always loved fireworks, and he always was in the tournament, and he was a good fisherman. He won the walleye part of it two years in a row.
He was the guy that you really had to watch for, because he was always the one who would catch the walleye. Nobody would be catching a walleye, but he’d catch that walleye. I don’t know how he did it but he was just graced with that, and he loved fireworks. So in honor of him, we have the fireworks that start the tournament in honor of Justin Wieschowcki.” Frey added.
In all there were 3 winners at today’s tournament.
Aaron Spiegelmyer was the lucky winner of a 31 1/2 inch pike. He says fishing is all about patience, and having fun.
“I’m pretty excited about it. We’ve got a couple of decent ones…if you catch one its pretty good odds. If you catch a fish that bonus but if not it’s still fun being out here.” Spiegelmyer said.
But the tournament wasn’t complete without a chili cook off! Frey said the chili is something you don’t want to miss.
“I mean here you got 10 chili’s. You’ve got chicken chili, you’ve got white chili, you’ve got green chili, you’ve got red chili…and to be able to sample them, they’re all delicious,” Frey said.
In Alpena for WBKB News, I’m Star Connor.