The first annual Lake Decorah Lake Restoration Ice Fishing Tournament will be held Saturday, Jan. 6 at Riverside Park, will provide members of the community with a chance to help raise funds for improvements to the lake.
The tournament is the brainchild of Seth Westberg, the City of Mauston’s Superintendent of Parks, Forestry and Cemetery, who wanted to do something to help Lake Decorah.
“Initially, (the idea) started with an ice fishing tournament that my boss and I did,” Westberg said. “We did a comprehensive recreation plan, and on that plan there was a need for lake improvement. I kinda tied the two in together by having a winter event in the parks … and all the funds we raise are going to go back into the lake.”
According to Westberg, no specific plans are laid out yet for what to do with the funds, but all the money will go toward restoration efforts.
“The grand plan would be to try and get sediment reduction,” he said. “I’m not a hydrologist or a fish biologist of any sort, so this is kind of just the first step in all of it. We’ve been in contact with the DNR on what we can do, what we can’t do … so we’re just trying to get the ball rolling and trying to get an event to build up excitement in the community.”
Those interested in entering the tournament can register at Riverside Park Jan. 6 between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. or pre-register during the week between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at the Mauston Public Works office. There is a $20 entry fee.
Fishing is permitted anywhere on the Lemonweir River from the New Lisbon Dam to the Mauston Dam.
There will be five categories of fish for the tournament: perch, bluegill, crappie, Northern pike and bass. Cash prizes shall be awarded the top three finishers in each of the five categories: $75 for first, $50 for second and $20 for third. To be eligible for the cash prizes, you must be in line to register your fish by 2:00 p.m.
Westberg noted the event will have activities even for those not interested in fishing.
There are a gun/bow sports raffle, a 50/50 cash raffle and a bucket raffle all planned starting at 3:00 p.m. In addition, a beer tent and food gardens will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Though he is uncertain on what turnout will be like in the first year of the event, Westberg hopes this will be the beginning of an annual tradition in Mauston.