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Warm welcome comes with ice

January 30, 2011 at 12:48 AM

Peoria Journal Star

MAPLETON - Hundreds of anglers strapped on their ice creepers and propped up their heated huts Saturday morning at the 31st annual Lake Camelot Ice Fishing Derby.

A total of 363 participants - 331 adults and 32 children (12 and under) - filled Lake Camelot to try and bring in the biggest fish in five separate categories - bass, crappie, catfish, walleye and the largest combined weight of three bluegill. Bill Whitehurst, president of the Lake Camelot Round Table Association (LCRTA), said that’s not the only reason some people came out.

“It’s a private lake, and this is the one time that we open it up to the public,” Whitehurst said. “People come out just because they actually get to fish Camelot.”

The fishing started at 7 a.m., and anglers had to be in line for the weigh-in by noon if they were there for the competition.

“Some people stay out there until 12:30 or 1 o’clock,” Whitehurst said. “But we’re not going to run them off.”

The biggest catch of the day was a 3.16-pound catfish reeled in by Brian Rabe. Jeff Mullins wasn’t far behind, winning the bass category with a 3.15-pounder. The other winners were Jim McCord (1.27-pound crappie) and Marty Olsen (combined bluegill weight of 1.56).

No walleye were caught.

The youth title went to Jaxon Greshan, who had three bluegills that totaled 1.62 pounds.

Supporting the hundreds of people on the lake was ice an average of 8-10 inches thick, enough to support a small car or truck.

Anglers used a sharp auger to bore out holes in the ice, a process that usually takes just under a minute.

Once finished fishing, the participants weighed their fish and were then treated to free hot dogs and chili in the Lake Camelot Clubhouse, as well as a chance to enter a 50-50 and other raffles. The tournament pays out 80 percent to the winners, while the other 20 percent helps pay for tournament expenses and for other community events.

“That’s the one thing that we pride ourselves on out here in Lake Camelot; that we’re trying to keep the old standards of the community as a whole, not just people living next door to each other,” Whitehurst said.

The LCRTA holds many events for the neighborhood, including New Year’s Eve, Halloween and Fourth of July parties, a wine tasting night and numerous movie nights, often held in the clubhouse.

Josh Herman can be reached at 686-3214 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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

The guy I was with had bluegill total of 1.41.

Missed it by THAT much.

I caught 1 bluegill and the fishermen around me caught none.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/30 at 09:12 AM

Our group of 12 didn’t catch a fish, oh well.  Definitely had a good time as always.  Hope they keep hosting the annual tourny.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/30 at 09:35 PM

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