Some of you that are from warmer climates may not understand the term fishoree as it relates to Wisconsin in January. Standing around or sitting in an "ice shantie" on 16-18 inches of lake ice waiting for a flag on a tip up or the word "Flag" to be yelled out.
Fishoree is a fishing contest with prizes awarded for largest fish in a category and door prizes as well. Wingers in Oconomowoc,_Wisconsin according to Rich Winger, has be running fishorees for around 50 years. A tradition that has a large following as on a very foggy morning hundreds of people gathered on the ice of Fowler Lake for the annual Wingers Tap Fishoree. Now if you are a little nervous about driving on icy roads this might be a little much for you Fowler Lake is in excess of 50 feet deep in some areas with a river running through it. Add up to 200 cars and pick up trucks (some what spread out and some very close together) and might you be a little jumpy as the ice cracks a little when a pickup goes by.
I and my side kick Spencer Braatz (yes Active Rainers -Tom Braatz's son)had entered to try our luck at winning. I arrived late at 5:15 AM to an area we had prefished the day before to figure out depths and weed lines etc. There were already 75- 100 cars on the ice and our "spot" was pretty tightly packed already with tip ups. While waiting for Spencer to be dropped off I hand augured a few holes in the ice and set some tip ups. Spencer found my van on the ice in the fog and his dad called to ask where I was. I was set up 70 yards away in the fishing circus.
We had not have much fishing action with the tip ups for northern pike so I decided to fish with some heavy line in Spencers two man Fabrill Ice Shantie. Thanks to Spencer watching while I was making some line ajustments I caught and released our first northern pike (did not make the 26 inch requirement). We lost 2 more in the shantie but Spencer end-up catching a 27.5 inch 4 lb. 15 ounce northern on a tip up that took fourth place in the Wingers Tap Fishoree. Another great day on the ice and a great thing to take a kid fishing.
Thank you to Rich Winger and his crew at Wingers Tap Oconomowoc WI for putting on the Fishoree.
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