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Catfish headline ice tourney

January 28, 2008 at 01:59 PM

Not many anglers head out for a day of ice fishing expecting to tussle with 6-pound channel catfish, but that’s exactly what happened during Saturday’s 28th annual Lake Camelot ice fishing tournament.Illinois Outdoors

During an overall slow day of panfishing, three big catfish—and at least one that got away—caused the biggest stir at the annual event held on two subdivision lakes southwest of Peoria. And it was the lower lake (Lake Lancelot, the lake on which the clubhouse is located) that turned in the bulk of the money-winning fish.

The biggest catfish was caught by Gary Stevenson of Peoria, who managed to squeeze an 11.26-pound channel through an 8-inch hole. Stevenson also caught a 6.49 pounder. Nearby Rick Gama of Peoria caught a 7.7-pounder. Those were the only three catfish caught by the 316 anglers competing in the tournament. Stevenson said his 11-pounder filled his ice hole. Fortunately, his son Kip was able to help land the fat cat.

“If I hadn’t had an 8-inch auger I’d have never got him through,” said Stevenson, who several years ago fell through a spring hole during the annual tournament but kept on fishing. “The fish was stuck on both sides and when I pulled him out by the lip it was like ... whoosh.” Stevenson is pictured below weighing his big catfish. He said he also lost another 6- or 7-pound catfish.

Illinois Outdoors

Here is Gama with his catfish. He caught it about 30 yards away from Stevenson, also on a waxworm and small jig. Evidently both groups set up over a fairly decent school of big catfish.

Illinois Outdoors

Fishing for bluegill, however, was not as active as usual. The winning three-fish weight of 1.79 was turned in by Matt Matzke of Mapleton who was fishing the upper lake. He caught his two bluegill early but did not hook the largest until moments before the noon weigh-in. Matzke said he was fishing 10-15 feet deep with waxworms and a chartreuse-colored jig. “You’d catch two and then you wouldn’t catch anything for a half hour and then you’d catch two more,” Matzke said.

Here are the rest of the top bluegill weights turned in: 2. Jon Drowns, Pekin, 1.73 pounds (lower lake); 3. Rick Puckett, Peoria, 1.65 (lower lake); 4. Bret Robbins, Glasford, 1.55 (upper lake); 5. Ryan Bill, Peoria, 1.5 (upper lake); 6. Mark Reed, Canton, 1.47 (lower lake). Drowns was fishing just 6 feet deep on the lower lake and said his fish also came early.

Puckett is pictured below. He said he has fished all 28 years of the tournament. And most of his fish came early.

Illinois Outdoors

One family dominated bass fishing on the day. After setting up within 20 yards of each other on the lower lake, father Ron Cooling and his son Rob and Reed Cooling (all from East Peoria) hooked into three very nice bass. Ron had the smallest, 1.72 pounder that ranked fourth on the day. Best fish went to Rob for a 2.47-pounder while Reed had a 2.03-pound fish. Third place among bass anglers went to Steve Kemp of Peoria for a 1.87-pounder.

Several big crappie were also weighed in, led by 21-year-old Kevin Reed’s 1.63-pounder. Reed of Canton caught his fish at 7:15 a.m. (just 15 minutes into the tournament) in about 6 feet of water while fishing the lower lake near a well-known fishing point (think gazebo). Second largest crappie went to Jon Drowns 1.37 pounds and here are other notable slabs from the day: 3. Brenden Williams, Pekin, 1.37 pounds; 4. Tim McCoy, Bartonville, 1.26 pounds; 5. Steve Frevert, Alabama, 1.16 pounds. Reed is pictured below.

Illinois Outdoors

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Locks te me like Gary Stevenson’s catfish has discarded duck decoy weights in its stomach!!If I was running that scale,I would run a metal detector over the fish before weighing!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/30 at 07:28 AM

seems like to me that brenden Williams and jon drowns caught the same size fish(1.37 pound) but brenden is labeled as 3rd.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/31 at 06:28 PM

I agree,Gary Stevenson’s fish doesnt look like an 11 pounder. Maybe 8 but not 11. Brenden Wiliams is also def. tied for 2nd place! looks like it must have been a good time wish I would have been there.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/09 at 07:33 AM

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